What I Learned Paying $15 For A Single Jalapeno Popper

I did it.  Thirteen weeks ago I started a medically supervised weight loss program through the Ottawa Civic hospital, which includes, most notably,a twelve week fast on nothing but Optifast 900 protein shakes, water, and nothing else.  

I lost 72 pounds, and while I was on the shakes I thought about food constantly, especially the deep fried, heavy foods I love.  I had some good days and some bad days.  The good days were a breeze, filled with energy and  but on my bad days I literally couldn't think of anything but food.  I could barely sleep, and when I did, I'd dream of being in places where everyone was eating - wedding receptions, birthday parties, cafeterias - but I couldn't. 

A true nightmare.

So the day after I got off the shakes, I was curious.  I'd been very careful while on the fast to only have the shakes, and I decided that I was going to try just a few bites of one of my favorite foods from the past:  Jalapeno Poppers.   (If you haven't tried them, it's a slice of jalapeno dipped in cream cheese, breaded and deep fried.)

It's cold as hell in Canada (and, I admit, I didn't want to be seen in a Pizza Pizza by someone in my weight loss group), so I decided to order delivery, like I used to nearly every day.   It was absurd, as I'd be eating just a few.  $6 for the food, $3.50 for the delivery fee, and another $4 to tip the guy, plus tax on it all.   Almost $15.  But what the hell, it's not a habit, so I figured it'd be fine as a one time thing. 

I placed the order and a minute later the phone rings.  The pizza guy is on the other end of the line, wondering what the hell I'm doing ordering $6 of food for delivery and paying $9 in taxes, tip, and fees to have it sent out to me.   I assure him that I haven't lost my mind, or rather, that I probably have, but I'm okay with it.  The food is on the way. 

So it shows up and I'm a bit repulsed even by the smell of it.  It smells like fryer grease and frustration, the smell I remember working 8 hours a day standing over a deep fryer in a deli.  I don't remember it being so overpowering before. 


Mmm... delicious?

I dipped the first one in plum sauce and tried a bite.  It was exactly how I remembered it.  Spicy, sweet, creamy.  I was sure this was the same flavor from twelve weeks ago.  There was one key difference:  It was disgusting. 

It's hard to explain why, exactly, because something being deep fried is so common in our culture we never even think to describe it.  It was oily, greasy, and overpowering.  I almost spat it out.  I tried a second bite, because this was one of my favorite foods.  Same result.  There was nothing "wrong" with the preparation of it, it had all the same flavor I remembered, but it was just completely unappealing. 

So... yeah.  After 12 weeks of craving fried food almost daily and two years before that giving into those cravings far, far beyond what could be considered healthy or maybe even sane, right now, I feel like I'm done.  I have no desire whatsoever to try any deep fried anything.  For the first time since as long as I can remember I have zero interest in fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, or any of that.   I don't even want to try bacon, pizza, hamburgers, sloppy joes, or anything else particularly fatty or greasy.  It used to be the only things I truly enjoyed eating.  Now, it turns my stomach just thinking about them.

I'm not saying my tastes won't change with time, but for now... ugh.  Pass.