Monday, 19 July 2010

YAY ME.......I think?

Oooooh. Strange things are happening. Guess what I did today? It's something I've never done before and while I was doing it I thought "This is madness!" but I carried on...

Well, let me tell you the story leading up to this event first.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin :)  (That line was the intro to 'Listen With Mother' on BBC Radio way back when.)

On Saturday my man was having his family come up to the Midlands from Surrey (the other side of London.) His sister is a VERY good cook and my man was going to be doing the majority of the cooking over the weekend, given they were staying with him, in his house. He did ask me though to make the pudding which we'd have after Sunday dinner. I wanted to impress. Little did I appreciate at the time how traumatic such a simple request would become.

I am not a big dessert eater, but when we have special meals on special occasions pudding usually follows and depending on what it is, I may have some. I'd recently watched a TV programme featuring an easy to make reconstructed Banoffee Pie - and it sounded absolutely delicious. Banoffee Mess it was a called..a bit Like Eton Mess, but with Banoffee Pie ingredients. So, I went out and bought all the ingredients..which included light brown sugar, butter, two cartons of double cream, a packet of Digestive biscuits, a bag of pecan nuts, eggs and castor sugar (for meringues) and ooops..bananas. Very costly...and given I have such a low income now (I live on my occupational pension) a bit of an unusual splurge. My man offered to pay for the ingredients, but hell, I do have some pride. If I can't contribute a pudding to the weekends goings on it's a bit of a poor show. So, I went shopping on Friday and bought all these UNHEALTHY ingredients. I don't use sugar or butter at home and pecan nuts might as well be made of solid gold given the price of them! Still, I bit my lip and bought them...

We were very busy on Saturday but I reminded my man that at some point during the day I'd have to get in the kitchen and make the the toffee sauce could cool and I'd have time to cook meringues, etc. It WAS an easy recipe. However, things didn't pan out like that - we just didn't get home until very late after a restaurant meal and on Sunday morning I was panicking a bit. I'd stayed at man's house on Saturday night and on Sunday morning by the time we'd all showered and had a late breakfast it was almost midday. Lunch was at 2pm because his family had to travel back down south afterwards. THEN I discovered I'd left the (very expensive) pecan nuts at home. So, I packed up all the other ingredients and told man I'd make it at home (I prefer cooking in my own kitchen anyway...) but I'd get back for lunch. It's a good job we only live about ten miles apart. So off I whizzed, (in daughter's car which I'd borrowed while she holidays in Greece) feeling a bit stressed out. I got home and realised I'd left the recipe at his house! I couldn't for the life of me remember if the toffee sauce needed golden syrup in it - and what quantities of butter, brown sugar and cream I had to use. So - I tried to find the recipe on the internet...

The clock was ticking. I had about 45 mins to make it and then had to get back to man's place for lunch. Panic! Panic! I was going to be a big let down! I HAD to deliver a pudding! His family had said how much they all loved Banoffee Pie...yum, yum. It was up to me to serve Banoffee Pie for pudding!

I found a similar recipe online so went to the kitchen, weighed out the sugar...and a huge chunk of butter, and melted both in a pan. To this greasy, sugary mixture I had to add a LARGE amount of double cream. I did...I simmered it and stirred and slowly I created a lovely, runny toffee sauce. I tried a spoonful. Mmmm. It was sweet, rich and creamy and VERY good. (I wasn't sure it would work. I was relieved! Man's sister had said "Do you add syrup to the sugar and butter mix?" and I'd insisted that the recipe I was using didn't have syrup in it. She'd looked at me quizzically - so I HAD to get the toffee sauce right.) Such pressure. However, the sauce had to cool before it was whipped into the stiff double cream...the cream had been in the car so it was no longer icy cold..It dawned on me that with bananas and warm toffee sauce added to whipped cream and only just cooled meringues..the mixture was likely to flop and turn into a runny mess! That was NOT supposed to be the end result. It all had to be chilled in the fridge for an hour at least. Given I also had to arrange it in dishes and transport it all back to mans house...I was going to turn up with a light brown runny mess in each dish! Not the desired result! MAJOR PANIC! I phoned man and told him there'd been a change of plan. I felt such a fool. (I reckoned his sister would be gloating!) One pudding and I'd failed! I was so stressed and miserable. I couldn't even serve up a simple Banoffee Pie, which they were all looking forward to. :( Feeling flustered and angry and stressed out, I abandoned the sauce and meringues, put the cream in the fridge and headed off for the nearest supermarket where I bought punnets of strawberries and raspberries. I'd have to do fruit for pudding. (Now, why didn't I just do this in the first place? Why had I wanted to impress?)

The fruit (enough for seven adults) cost a King's ransom! Bloody hell! This was the most expensive pudding on the planet given I'd already forked out for Banoffee Pie ingredients. It would have been cheaper to eat out!

Anyway...we had pudding but I felt quite sheepish...and knackered given all the rushing about!

Last night, quite late, I came home to a big bowl of toffee sauce. Mmmm. I also came home to two big cartons of double cream, and a bag of yummy pecan nuts. These are NOT foods to have in the house of a person wishing to lose weight. I had several spoonful of the rich sauce before I went to bed. Oh it was sweet, but heavenly! This morning, the toffee sauce called me again with it's runny richness. I remembered what the melted butter looked like..I also remembered what the brown sugar looked like, piled up on the scale. Lots of both. And lo....this sauce contained almost half a pot of double cream. No wonder it was rich, velvety smooth and delicious. For breakfast this morning I had a tablespoon of toffee sauce. Then another. Then I wised up. There was enough sauce there for seven people. Enough cream for a pudding to serve to seven people. Enough pecan nuts for seven people. ..and there'd be some left over. Did I really want to eat THAT much cream? I thought I could make up the Banoffee Pie for me and my boys...but...did I want THEM to clog up their arteries with double cream when they've been trained to eat yogurts? Did I want that cream in my stomach? Did I want to eat pure fat and sugar? The answer was a resounding NO!

With that, I poured two big cartons of cream down the toilet. I know...soooooo wasteful. I wish I could have thought of another way to get rid of them but giving them away wasn't an option. My neighbours were at work...and who goes offering gifts of cream anyway? I took the bowl of toffee sauce to the sink and poured washing-up liquid into it...then hot water...and watched my toffee sauce go bubbly then thin and creamy, then go down the plughole.

As I was doing it I felt some shame, (I hate wasting food) but also lots of pride. I had decided that this unhealthy food was not going to add pounds to my frame. I was not going to clog up my body with fat and sugar..not in such huge amounts anyway. I weighed myself this morning. To my surprise I have only gained two pounds over the last two weeks. I really thought given my up and down moods I may have blown it and gained much more. In between the bad times there have been lots of sensible times...and I count the throwing away of cream and toffee sauce (enough for seven people but easily consumed by one as well!) as a sensible time. I wouldn't have eaten it all at once, but I KNOW every time I'd gone into the kitchen I'd have had to eat a little more of that runny toffee concoction.

It's gone. It's a weight off my mind, and the sewers rather than my digestive system can deal with it.

Yay me? Or not? I am not quite sure if I've just had a disaster or a victory. This morning I cycled as I watched TV and I made sure I worked up a sweat! Begone toffee sauce!

My challenge to you today? Have some self-respect. Go and get rid of any foods in your house which you REALLY don't want to eat. Think of the affect on your health and your weight. Donate them to the bin...or to a deserving cause, but not to your stomach.

"Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself." ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel


  1. I haven't had exactly this problem before since all of my desserts are low calorie if I plan to eat them and sweets I don't like if I don't, but I do understand how you feel about "wasting food". Early on, I forced myself to understand some facts:

    1. Once you spend the money. It is gone. You do not extract value from a food that is non-nutritious (or that you don't like) by forcing yourself to consume the calories.

    2. You are worth more than the value of food. Your health is worth more than the value of food.

    3. It's all going to end up down the toilet one way or another. Gaining weight isn't going to change that.

    Early on in this process, I used to try to portion out foods I didn't like to get them "eaten up" within the scope of my diet, but I realized that this was absurd. If I didn't enjoy them, why would I waste the calories on them? The reason was that I didn't value myself enough to throw the food away. Ironically, I have always told my husband that he shouldn't eat anything he doesn't like and, indeed, we once tossed out $30 worth of beef that was overcooked (to well done) accidentally because he really only likes beef medium rare. He was worth it in my estimation, but I wasn't.

    I learned that I have to be worth it, too. I have to push myself to realize this and to act on it. It is still not my nature, but it is something I do more freely and with much less resistance now than before.

  2. FG: I am laughing at your pudding is interesting that in the end you bought fresh fruit.

    I once made a beautiful coffee cake and my sister took the first serving. Turns out I had put in a 1/2 CUP of salt, instead of a 1/2 TEASPOON salt. She couldn't spit it out fast enough or far enough. Sadly, the cooking gene bypassed me.

    Keep plugging along. You are making the progress that works for you. As Dr. Phil says "You cannot change what you are not aware of".

    Carry on.

  3. Although I shouldn't laugh at what was, no doubt, traumatic events for you, you did bring a big grin to my face when I read your blog. I say good for you for dumping it. Better to not have temptation sitting around there for a weak moment.

  4. Okay, I am laughing. I am sorry I can not help it. I once tried to cook a duck for my hubby's boss. Never try and cook something that you have never cooked for a special party. My duck was done on the outside but raw inside. We ended up getting take out.

  5. I can completely relate to your post, as I have no will power for things that are just hanging around my house... its like they are calling my name.

    Good for you, dumping it out. I would have done the same thing.

    Good thoughts

  6. Please come over here RIGHT NOW and throw away the cherry Danish that I thought my son would like, but he doesn't.

    You did the right thing!!