Into sugarland … and back again … somewhat unscathed

February 2, 2010 § 13 Comments

at Buena Vista Cuban restaurant, Miami

Me: Dessert?
HM: Yes, sure.
Me:  OK, wanna share? 

I don’t really like  want to share food. I’m not one of those who, when at a restaurant, is all excited about trying what’s on other people’s plates and offering up mine.  I order what I like.  And then build a sort of wall around it. But for HM, love of my life…(and for my waistline!) I’m trying to “kick” sugar. Not easy. Even writing about it doesn’t help. It  makes it worse. I am lusting for some of the chocolate-covered pretzels in the kitchen right now as I type.

The waitress brings us one flan, as we requested. I am grateful for the way it’s plated. I have something to look at, to exclaim over, to praise, before digging in – gently, gently!

HM: Go ahead, you go first.
Me: You sure? (He nods.) Thanks. 

Proceed slowly. Suddenly I stop the fork action and get out my camera to take a picture. HM raises an eyebrow. 

OK, now, for a taste.I take a small forkful. In truth, I could have pulled the plate closer, built my “traditional” don’t-touch-it wall and been done, fork rattling on empty  plate in less than three or four completely non-conversational minutes. But I take only enough of a bit of the flan to engage only two prongs of the four-pronged fork. Just a whisper of the flan. Not even enough to fall off the fork!

HM: Well?
Me: Mmmmmm
HM: Oh, that’s your highest praise, that smiling “mmmm.”Have it all. Enjoy it!
Me: (waving my fork) No! No! Don’t leave it to me. Please! Come on, taste!
HM: Are you sure? I can order something else, maybe just a coffee.
Me: waving a fully loaded fork in front of him, hypnotizing him, smiling: Taste it. Come on, love, it’s bliss on a fork.

(Did you ever notice that when you could have only a tiny little bit, how rich and delightful that tiny bit is? omg.)
He leans in to take the offered “dolce.”

HM: Oh, yeah. Surprisingly good. He leans back in his chair.

We are tango-ing with our appetites. We both could polish off this flashy flan easily if the other turned his/her head away for even a half second. Yup, we know that. But we’re enjoying this little dance, tasting it bit by bit like some kind of professional tasters or judges in a contest. I am impressed by our reserve. It’s a new kind of enjoyment for us both.

Me: Whaddya’ think? A 10?
HM: Yeah, I’d give it a 10.
Me: Good thing we can’t get to this bistro on a regular basis.
HM: You’ve never made flan, have you? You could try it. Bet you could do  a really fine flan!

(Ah, I recognize that train of thought…he’s throwing down the culinary gauntlet. Will I rise to the occasion and promise to make a flan as soon as we get home?
Me: I shrug. We’ll see.
HM: Playing it cool, eh? This from the woman who can eat ice cream so quickly that the spoon melts…let’s see what you make first when we get home – dinner or a flan dessert. Two weeks later…
I haven’t made any flan yet. Why? Because I’ll have to lick the bowl, if there is one during the making of it, and  I’ll have to taste  the final flan when it’s done, the “cook’s taste,” you know. And then have it again when I offer it to the family for dessert, erring, calorically and in terms of “sweet stuff” all over the place.

Ah, the trials of a person searching to sack her sugar love.


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§ 13 Responses to Into sugarland … and back again … somewhat unscathed

  • shoreacres says:

    And like bees to honey, all us other sugar-lovers are going to be drawn to this post, salivating and oooh-ing at the wonderful presentation and wondering, “What did I do with that half-bag of chocolate chips that was left after Christmas?”

    Of course you realize that flan is full of nutrition – all those eggs and milk? Very good for a person. Protein. Calcium. It’s just fancy egg custard. They give that to babies, or people in hospitals. See? It’s ok. You should make some! 😉

    • oh says:

      Linda…MUST reply to this…missed it….ya’ know…following your spin on what the flan is made of, well, there is no reason no to go foraging for those ingredients…after all…once again, we’re on “weather alert” to have milk and etceteras in the face of another possible storm. Egads, these people press the weather panic button so readily…
      Anyway, what goes better on a cold eveing than some fancy egg custard. Why oh why do I love it so much?
      PS Sugar busting is going fairly well.

  • CLo says:

    A few things here.
    a) I don’t like sharing food either. Maybe it’s because I’m a cheap college kid, but for the most part, I feel like I earn my food.
    b) Did I see an “omg” up there? Too much Twittering for you, ma.
    c) Of course dad let you take the first bite. Of course you had to take a picture. Of course he tried to cajole some flan out of you.

  • jeanie says:

    Oh, so many chuckles! I simply loved the throwing of the gauntlet! Had to laugh at the photo thing — I’ve been known to do that too, receiving gentle tolerance and a “can we eat now?” look! Well, it looks fabulous, and I love the “dance.” I have to say, given my WW regimen, I love the idea of savoring one Trader Joe French truffle (1 point) over a whole piece of something else!

  • typehype says:

    Oh, I feel your pain. I’ve initiated a similar New Year’s resolution to cut down on sugar. You see, there’s this fantastic little Italian bakery in walking distance from our apartment…well, you know the rest. J.C. (husband) and I are good at playing devil’s advocate when it comes to cannolis or a Russian tea cookies or a cream puffs or…and bad at willpower. Lucky for me, he doesn’t like flan — because in our neighborhood, flan rules. More power to you 🙂

    • oh says:

      You are surrounded by wonderful food “stuff!” An Italian bakery – omg!!!!!! A cannoli…!!!!!well, I’m going to leave it at “yum” and then try not to thing about it any further. Say hello to theneighborhood for me.

  • Arti says:


    Your post reminds me of a scene in the movie Julie and Julia, when Meryl Streep (Julia Child) eats with her husband Stanley Tucci in a French restaurant. Hey, your description is so vivid and delicious… have you ever thought about writing a screenplay?

    • oh says:

      Arti -that’s the coolest thing anyone could have said to me today! Write a screenplay – no, I have no idea what or how or about what…but thanks for asking the question – can’t explain exactly, but it made my day. (oh, what a day it was in “corporate world.”

      Will ponder.
      And I LOVED the movie Julie and Julia…and the scene you mention – I remember the very one!

  • Carrie says:

    Oh, the duel of sophisticated palates… 🙂 Good luck with that sugar thing… I’m utterly hopeless. I’d rather kill myself on the treadmill (or think about it) than actually kicking the habit!

    Loved the scene…

    • oh says:

      Carrie – I can’t figure out what’s easier, or, in fact, more difficult- eating less and less sugar OR working out? I’m taking the eating less path right now…will see how it goes…

  • Bellezza says:

    I can easily imagine what giving up crack cocaine would be to an addict when I think of giving up sugar. It is my #1 weakness, and I find it easier to have None than Some, though neither are even remotely possible for me most of the time. However, as I age (49 last Saturday!) it’s apparent that self discipline will need to be called upon more forcefully. Stupid waistlines…

  • ds says:

    Give up sugar?!! Never! (I wish) Wicked, wicked HM to throw down the “culinary gauntlet” like that. And I have to laugh at Linda’s comment, it reminds me so much of Bill Cosby’s routine about Dad being responsible for breakfast, reaching his wit’s end, and deciding on chocolate cake…

  • oh says:

    DS omg, chocolate cake.mmmmm….and so far, I have NOT made that flan! but a storm is brewing and I may dash out for a few “necessary” things (really? necessary?) and it may involve picking up the flan ingredients – comfort food, right? I am learning to just have one or two bites…off someone else’s plate…and you know who he is!!!!

    stay tuned…

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