The Bread of Men

When my brother and I were little kids and had to do that forceful march of sorts, trudging up and down the grocery store aisles with our mom for weekly food and sundries, we would play this imaginary game; Imagine that the store closed and you were forced to live on one aisle for a week. Which aisle would you pick?

We would argue the merits and list the things each of us would have on our aisle, trying to one-up the others decision. “Well I would have Peanut Butter on my aisle. Do you know all the things I could do with Peanut Butter?” one might say, “Well I’ll have milk. How are you going to wash all of that Peanut Butter down, without something to drink?” the other might retort.

The game wouldn’t last long, but it would kill enough time to get us part of the way through the long boring up and downs of the grocery store aisles.

He would invariably pick the cereal or cookie aisle. It was always a toss-up for me between the dairy and the bread aisle. Dairy held lunch meat as well, and I think bread held sodas and bakery items. I would vacillate on my decision each time we played because the love between cheese and bread has always been a strong one.

Yesterday if I had to play that game, assuming my brain was that of a 9-year old who couldn’t figure out how to get out of a damned grocery store, it would be hands down: Bread. Trust me it’s not an easy decision to make, because man, oh man how I love my cheeses; from processed Kraft (gotta be Kraft only) singles, to a smooth Brie, or an aromatic Blue. Throw me a chunk of that Mozzarella, will ya?

But nothing, absolutely nothing compares to my love of bread. The smell of a bakery with fresh bread baking, brings tears to my eyes. I might order a specific sandwich or burger, simply based on the bread they are using. I’ve always been like this. For God’s sake, I order a side of toast with my French Toast! While most my friends (and family) were loving that gooey gummy Wonder-crap as a kid, I pined for something better. Oh and come the holidays? Some kids mouths watered over the turkey or ham? Not me. I wanted nothing more than those warm biscuits.

As I got older and could order my own food at restaurants I discovered the sophisticated cousin to white; Sourdough. Italian, French or San Franciscan. From there the world became my haven as I sampled Ryes; Dill, Russian and Jewish. Throw in a tangy Pumpernickel from time to time. Bagels, baguettes, brown breads and braids. Croutons, and flatbreads and Naans! I could list breads forever!! My snobbish ways eventually dissolved and I actually did quietly and surreptitiously go back to my roots from time to time with gummy white bread, but only toasted and slathered with gobs of rich salty butter. When I’m sick or want comfort food is when it usually tastes the best.

As I’ve gotten older I know as much as I love them, breads are also my downfall. I’ll happily have toast for dinner when I’m too lazy to cook. I’ve ruined a good meal more than once by filling up with the baskets of bread offered up, unable to resist it anymore than an alcoholic can resist a nice glass of wine.

Now as any good nutritionist or dieter will tell you, bread in moderation is okay. Preferably the healthier whole grains. One shouldn’t gorge on, or make meals of — bread, any more than they should martini’s. I know this. I know this intellectually. But emotionally? At times, not so much. I know that the gummy white bread, hell even the sourdough has no nutritional value. Sometimes, (not often) I will completely cut bread out of my diet. I will look at it sideways when I cross the bread aisle, giving it that “You know we aren’t good for one another…” kind of look. The one that says “I’ll always love YOU .. and YOU and YOU…” as the bagels, and the English muffins and the Farmers white and the 7-Grain all look at me in pity. Occasionally the fresh baked French loaves will sneer at me all knowingly, and whisper “She’ll be back.”

Oh that Frenchie knows me so well.

So how does this correlate with my relationship with Men? Easily. Substitute the word bread for men, and I think I can clearly say I’ve been on a one year binge of bad breads.

I fell off the low-carb diet that I had been existing on for years and somehow ended up locked up in the proverbial grocery store of my youth, to feed on nothing but wheats and grains.

And let me tell you, feed I did. Like a blind mole thrust into the daylight, I just plowed thru situations, without any sense of practicality or reasonableness. I was the 9-year old in her fantasy grocery store. Sampling here. Bingeing there. There were probably a couple of good loaves intermingled. I didn’t notice. Most of it? It really was that gummy white bread crap, that not only do I not really like, but I know is bad for me.

It’s been a year for me now. A year since the break-up. A year to get my shit together, and make healthy decisions regarding everything. I’m not fresh out of something, unable to think clearly. But I haven’t done that. I’ve played like a child, and whined when my knees got skinned. I’ve felt more negative emotions, or unhealthy highs with dramatic lows, than a person suffering from bi-polar. Just like a carb high from too much bread, — I’ve crashed.

This weekend, I vomited the last of it. I turned green around the gills, and realized that I’m a little sick of subsiding on bread alone. I want to trade my aisle for the produce section. I want healthy. I don’t want to ride the Carb Rollercoaster anymore. Maybe it was a summer sickness, but that’s doubtful. When looking back, I walked out the door of that last relationship and grabbed onto the first bread cart I could find. Some under the guise of friendship — wait, most under the guise of friendship. None, absolutely NONE with the exception of TYO (and even that has been questionable at times) have left me feeling good.

I don’t blame them. Do you blame the waiter who brings you the bread basket, or the baker who bakes the bread, or the farmer for that matter for growing the damn wheat, when you don’t have enough sense to say no? This is my circus, and my monkeys (damn I love that saying) and I need to clear out for while. I need to figure out where this sense of knowing was left. Why I think, or rather act, — like I am not worthy of something more balanced.

So I’m thinking, no bread for a while. – Ha!, stop laughing. Maybe no bread for today. Maybe I’ll treat bread the same way an addict treats drugs. I’ll take the bread off the shopping list. And when I do consider the bread, I’ll ask myself how healthy it is for me.

Damnit. I should have stuck with the dairy aisle when given the chance.




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