2017-01-03 / Home & Family

There’s one resolution I’m not making

A wife’s perspective on life in the military
Sarah Smiley

After Thanksgiving 2015, I was disgusted with myself. I had eaten dinner, complained about how full I was, eaten some more, and then I had desserts. The desserts are what did it. Never before had I felt my stomach bloating like that.

On our drive home from Virginia that year, I announced to everyone in the car, “I’m not eating desserts for a year.”

Everyone laughed.

“Sure,” they all said, with a heavy dose of sarcasm and doubt.

Not one to be made a fool or stand down from competition, I thought, “shoot, now I really have to do it.”

It turned out to be a terrible time of year to swear off desserts. My first test of willpower was the holiday season. That’s when I learned that I like frosted sugar cookies an unhealthy and ridiculous amount. Imagine frosting warm, gooey sugar cookies while four sets (my husband’s and three kids’) of disbelieving eyes wait for you to cave and either stick a whole cookie in your mouth or lick a bit of frosting from your thumb.

Despite the deliciousness (I did smell the cookies) and temptation, I dutifully cleaned the frosting from my hands before I could have a taste. Then I stuffed my mouth with diced peaches and pretended they were candy.

I was tested again when it was Lindell’s birthday and he asked for a homemade birthday cake. Again, four sets of disbelieving eyes watched as I frosted a warm chocolate cake and went immediately to the sink to wash it off my hands. While everyone ate cake and ice cream, I ate a carrot muffin and pretended it was carrot cake.

You’re thinking, a carrot muffin? Isn’t that kind of like a dessert? Indeed, the hardest part of this resolution was deciding what is and is not a dessert. Are desserts foods that are ingested after a regular meal? If you eat ice cream for breakfast, is it really dessert? And what about fruit? Is fruit a dessert if it doesn’t have whipped cream, a crumb shell or ice cream on the side?

A common question in our house this year was, “Is that really not a dessert?” I decided to classify “dessert” the traditional way: chocolate, cookies, cake, ice cream, pies, fudge, etc. But I allowed myself fruit (sometimes even frozen fruit), and, yes, carrot muffins (though not chocolate muffins).

Easter candy proved difficult to resist, although I managed by not allowing any Cadbury eggs into the house. Halloween was less difficult than I had imagined (I knew Snickers would be there for me in December anyway), and I easily celebrated my 40th birthday without cake. I even served as a judge at a cooking contest in October and abstained from the dessert samples.

By Nov. 1, everyone in the family was counting down the days until I could eat desserts again. It was “two weeks to Thanksgiving” but more importantly, it was “two weeks to dessert for mom.”

My first opportunity came during Thanksgiving dinner. Each year, my dad and I make something called Pink Salad. It was dad’s mom’s recipe, and by any definition, it is dessert, even if we serve it alongside turkey and gravy. Pink Salad is nothing except whipped cream, cherries, marshmallow, pineapple and cream cheese.

My older brother did a ceremonial drum roll on the table as I lifted the spoon to my mouth for the first bite. All those eyes watched again, this time expectantly. And although Pink Salad is still my favorite, I have to say, it was kind of just meh.

So I tried some pie. Meh.

And cake. Meh.

Then chocolate chip cookies. Meh. Meh. Meh.

All of the things I had longed for throughout the year were not as exciting as I had remembered. Had I lost my taste for desserts?

And then my mom offered me some Hershey’s kisses. “Try these,” she said eagerly. “These will do it.”

So I bit into the frozen chocolate (mom always keeps it frozen), and suddenly I remembered all of which I had been deprived throughout the year. There is nothing quite like frozen chocolate.

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve probably gone a bit overboard with the sweets. It’s amazing how quickly the taste comes back to you. I’m not even that discerning anymore, and it’s only been a month. I couldn’t wait to try donuts and ice cream again, and I planned a smorgasbord of Christmas cookies this year, most of which were heavily frosted. I’m not even sure I really love these things anymore.

So now that 2017 has arrived, I figure I should reign it in a bit. Maybe I should stick to special occasions and events.

Maybe.

But one thing I’m not resolving to give up this year is chocolate. Chocolate is the best.

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