After 2+ years eating low carb, you’d think I’d learned my lesson. I know that if I cheat, I have to do it small. One meal of extra carbs won’t kill me, if those carbs are something like bread, pasta or potatoes. But, if I add too much sugar to those extra carbs, I pay. I pay big.
A couple of months ago, I was angrily and petulantly craving a fried shrimp po-boy. It’s all I could talk about. I went on and on about crispy, cornmeal-battered Gulf shrimp and it’s delightful contrast in flavor and texture against a toasted and well-mayo-smeared slice of New Orleans French bread. I ad-libbed odes to the fresh-fried aroma and sang songs about licking the crumbs from my lips. And, of course, the po-boy had to be accompanied by a huge pile of fries, crisp and hot, fresh from the fryer, and dipped in a small pool of ketchup on the way to my mouth.
Because I couldn’t take it anymore, and neither could John, I finally relented and gave into my cravings. John and I decided to hike three whole blocks to Magazine Street and enjoy lunch at Basin Seafood & Spirits. We both love this restaurant, one of Chef Edgar Caro’s creations along like Baru Bistro and Zócalo, and have been many times in the past. I even brought my mom and brother to Basin when they visited a few years ago for Mardi Gras.
Now, I know I could’ve ordered more wisely. I could’ve easily slurped a dozen oysters or forked a few Royal Reds swimming in garlic butter. I could’ve easily enjoyed either with a side of Brussels sprouts seasoned with a salty bagna cauda, but I just had to have a po-boy. John got a burger and I conceded to sharing his fries rather than getting an order of my own. Everything was perfect. John’s burger was thick and juicy and my po-boy was everything I dreamed it would be. Fluffy, toasted Leidenheimer French bread slathered with mayo and stuffed with eight crisply-fried, pop-when-when-you-bite-them, Gulf shrimp. Pickle, lettuce and tomato completed my well-dressed ensemble and I relished ever bite. The hand-cut fries were full of potato flavor, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I’m pretty sure I ate more than my fair share, but John just let me have at it, knowing my craving will finally be sated and we could go on with life as usual.
I was feeling oh-so sated, sitting at the sidewalk table and watching folks walk by, a little sleepy from my vast repast, when the server came outside to see if we’d be interested in dessert. John looked at me wide-eyed, shaking his head when I smugly replied “What do you have?” Our server smiled and rattled off a list that didn’t pique my interest until he said “Milky Way Cake.” In my head I was thinking, “Kim, you’ve already dropped out of ketosis with all of those carbs, surely a slice of cake won’t hurt.” Even though deep down inside I knew better, and John knew better, I ordered a slice.
It wasn’t anything super special. It was a thick slice of moist, chocolaty, buttery caramel-infused cake which we both enjoyed. But I could’ve sworn I heard the distant toll of a death knell after each bite. Other than being too full, I didn’t really feel it until we began walking home. The heat (which wasn’t even that bad for a spring day in New Orleans) felt like a weight, making me feel dizzy and my knees and back started aching something awful. I had to stop several times on the long walk home and I was worrying John. Hell, I was worried!
We finally made it home and I sat on the couch while John brought me glass after glass of cool water. I kept saying “Never again!” as John would snort and roll his eyes and while I didn’t want to admit it, I knew he was right. Will I ever learn?