My sweet tooth has turned into a tusk since June, when we began our final preparations for 12 Cities, 1 Year, and it shows no signs of shrinking. Nor does my waistline, which is currently at 32 inches when I measure above my navel, or about 39, when I measure where my jeans really sit.
I just can’t seem to leave the sweets alone these days. It’s not a new thing. It started about 3 years ago and is linked to hormonal changes, but I can’t blame “unopposed estrogen” for every craving I fail to resist. Even in college I had a reputation for finding the best desserts.
The one truly good result of my infatuation with sweets is that I’ve become knowledgeable about chocolate shops and cupcake joints in several cities.
Bernice’s Bakery has been selling cupcakes, wedding cakes, croissants and other breakfast fare, pies, breads, sandwiches, and drinks since 1978. It’s a comfortable place, though I never spent much time there working on the computer; I went to coffeehouses for that. But you could, if you went in mid-morning or mid-afternoon.Bernice’s is a Missoula institution. The website claims their ovens never get turned off. When the picture below was taken, about 9 o’clock at night, the pastry bakers were there. One of them asked me if I wanted to come inside and take pictures. I was startled and said no, but also I felt I had the picture I wanted. If you want to see pictures of the bakers themselves, go to the website.All I ever had there were cupcakes: chocolate mousse and red velvet on my first visit, when I walked there from the house we were renting—a little more than a mile. Todd was more adventurous and bought a croissant now and then.Although the cake itself may not be quite as moist as Mermaids’ in Denver, the entire package is always attractive and tasty (before I start taking it apart, anyway). The mousse within the chocolate cupcake was thicker than the frosting, and the buttercream frosting on the red velvet was just sweet enough. Here is my favorite, the lavender mousse. If you’re nowhere near Bernice’s, you could buy a Dagoba lavender chocolate bar. That will give you an idea of the flavor, but the cupcake’s flavor is deeper and more complex than the bar’s.The first time I went up to the counter and listened to the counter-woman talk about which cupcakes they had made the night before, I kept thinking I heard the word “wine,” as in “wine batter” instead of “white batter.” I asked about it, and she said that, yes, they did put wine in their batter, but that the alcohol burned off. I don’t think the chocolate or red velvet cupcakes contain wine, but I’m not entirely certain.Let me know which type of cupcake photograph works best for you. Do you like seeing cupcakes that feature my teeth marks? Should I be more genteel and cut them with a knife instead? Or should I stick to showing the whole cupcake with wrapper on, since that’s all customers have to go on?
One thing I noticed about bakeries in Missoula: they’re open all the time. Bernice’s is open 6 am to 8 pm, every day. Le Petit Outre, another bakery just a block away, has less extensive hours but is open 7 days a week. I can’t remember any cupcake shops or bakeries in the Denver area being open on Sunday. One of the last things I did in Missoula was go to Bernice’s for a cupcake. And one of the first things Todd did after we settled into our apartment in Ballard, a neighborhood north of downtown Seattle that used to be its own city, was to bring me a cupcake. Here we have the Royale with Cheese and a strawberry number from Cupcake Royale.The other night I went to Cupcake Royale/Verite Coffee to do some work and was put off by their invasive terms of service for using the Internet. So I probably won’t spend any more time there working, though I predict I will have at least one more cupcake in the next two weeks. I’ve also had a caramel and sea salt cupcake there. They were both good, but I haven’t really decided how Cupcake Royale compares to Bernice’s.
The less good result of my infatuation with sweets is my inability to have the figure I want. To be honest, I haven’t had it since the late 1980s, the last time I weighed around 135 pounds. Right now, I’m pretty thick about the middle. I’d settle for weighing 145 or 150 pounds, but those numbers seem so impossibly far away these days. I haven’t weighed 145 pounds since 2007.
I’ve been trying, and I have lost 5 pounds here and there, but then my willpower evaporates and I find myself eating sweets every day. Often I will eat something and then think, “Why did I eat that? I didn’t really want it!”
Perhaps the problem is that I keep trying to reduce my consumption of sweets, instead of cutting myself off. Perhaps for me, sweets create an addiction as complete as my addiction to cigarettes. I kicked that habit, but I know I can’t ever dabble. I’d hate to give up sweets altogether, especially since it’s still socially acceptable to indulge in sweets.
Which method do you think works best?
I have done one positive thing for my health lately: I’ve learned some exercises I can do anywhere, on the road. I had a training session at Ballard Health Club with a man who specializes in body weight exercise. Many of the exercises he gave me require equipment from a gym, but one could be done hanging from a sturdy tree branch or a kid’s jungle gym, and burpees (including the “special” ones he taught me, which are “especially” painful) can be done anywhere with a little room.
I’ve done one set so far, and it was a good workout, so good, in fact, that I couldn’t finish it. I’m still a little sore from that workout, but I’m going to the health club again today. My goal is to do these new exercises every other day. If I can’t yet be slim, at least I can be stronger.
I realize this “review” is pretty strange, but I wanted to give you an idea of my mindset when I eat sweets these days. I’m spending a lot of time analyzing my eating habits instead of just enjoying them.