On Eating and Loving Food

A few weeks of pigging out

I’m really trying to not get too fat. Oops, too late.
Posted:  Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 11:00am

I’ve been pigging out.

It’s been a few weeks of, well, not quite hell, but not exactly Disneyland either, for me.

This is a food column, so I’m not going to dwell on the gory details, but I’ve been dealing with a large wound left behind after having a skin cancer removed from my shin. I haven’t been able to get much exercise, as I’m being ordered to sit with my leg up as much as possible.

A few days ago it was almost 50, and sunny, and I couldn’t stand it for another minute, so I walked 5,000 steps. That was dumb. I was in enough pain before, and that made it worse.

But on top of lack of exercise, I’ve been eating (too much). It’s hard not to when you’re holed up all day, day after day, and you have a fridge, and a pantry (just kidding haha) full of good food.

I was warned against a manhattan the night of the surgery, and I wasn’t feeling much like cooking (lots of pain, and had forgotten to pick up Tylenol) so I went to bed hungry. And thirsty.

The next morning I was ravenous, so I hobbled around and whipped up a ridiculously delicious high-cal breakfast: Fried eggs, with Tabasco sauce, home baked beans, an English muffin and a big hunk of cheddar cheese. Don’t worry. I had coffee, not a manhatttan, with it.

I had one of those giant salads I wrote about a couple weeks ago, complete with blue cheese, for lunch, with a good crunchy French roll. And at 5:00 (actually it may have been 4:45) I made a manhattan and toasted myself for getting rid of the stupid skin cancer. I thought the worst was over. It wasn’t, by a long shot.

It’s been a few weeks now, at least two of them riddled with pain-filled sleepless nights, especially after being hooked up to a “wound vac” 24/7. You can read all about that, and the Amazing Wonder Women at our wound care center, in a separate story. This is a food column.

So anyway. In an attempt to keep some semblance of a positive attitude in the face of pretty extreme adversity (you get that it hasn’t been fun, right?) I’ve been eating up a storm, and getting fat(ter).

On the day when I had to make an unplanned visit to the surgeon, I rewarded myself with a trip to McDonald’s, where I had a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, a large fry, and two chocolate milks.

In looking back at my calendar over the month since the surgery, I have days that begin with “Awful pain all night – slept three hours,” then, “Made mini choco cream pies.” See? I know how to turn a day around for the better.

Another breakfast, last weekend, was more of those fabulous baked beans, bacon, and toasted brown bread (yup, from the can).

One day I had a craving for spags ’n balls and made a big pot of sauce with meatballs. Another night I whipped up some Thai noodles with soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil, and pan roasted some boneless chicken breast with olive oil and panko breadcrumbs. Another night I made shrimp scampi with pasta and roasted eggplant.

I went to the Thistle Inn one day with Marilyn Gorneau, after she drove me to my bi-weekly trip to the wound center. You KNOW that was fabulous. We split a platter of Buffalo cauliflower and a Reuben.

The next day Andy and Adele Bielli and Jeff Savastano picked me up and whisked me off to Bernie’s joint (Osteria Bucci) in Damariscotta. (I’m wondering how long I can milk this wound thing now). We took wine (duh) and Bernie spoiled us with his famous spinach pies, black pepper and fennel biscuits, sausage bread, and a huge platter of handmade pasta with meatballs and “gravy.”

Jeff eats more than you can imagine, with that skinny little frame of his, and he almost managed to polish off the whole platter of pasta. Then Bernie made us eat some of his awesome cannoli. He can be persuasive.

As if I hadn’t pigged out enough over the course of three weeks, there was the whole cheese fondue thing. O.M.G. You read about the cheese fondue fiasco, right? If you didn’t, you should. Have you ever had something, anything, Kim Martin has cooked?

That fiasco happened one night, with Sue Mello, Michael Maxim and Andy Bielli all partaking of the outrageous cheese fondue, and excellent wines – no Two Buck Chuck at Eventide.

A few days later Marilyn decided to pick up one of Kim’s fondue kits, and she invited me over for dinner to share it with her. Being the best bartender this side of the Kennebec, she whipped me up a Maker’s Mark manhattan while she cooked. She used Jacques Cardin French brandy and Chambord in the fondue, rather than the Kirsch that it often calls for. It was soooo delicious.

So that’s twice in a week that I’ve had fondue, and I want more RIGHT NOW.

I almost forgot to mention the cinnamon puffs, crusty rolls, and bagels from Eventide. I ate some, and threw a few in the freezer because I’m really trying to not get too fat.

Oops, too late.

See ya next week!

P.S. Thank you to all, so many, who have reached out to offer help over the past month. I love you!