One of the things that David Kessler talks about in The End of Overeating is the incredibly strong trigger of nostalgia, emotions about certain foods that are hardwired from childhood.
I’m going to a major league baseball game this weekend. I wasn’t really worried or thinking about it at all until a friend (who is also going) just emailed me and said, “What do they have for food? Is it mostly junk?” My immediate reaction was, “YES, AND I LOVE IT ALL!!!!!!!!” I know, I KNOW, they are horrible disgusting products made of pig toenails and rat ears and nitrites and poo, but god, I LOVE hot dogs. I remember very clearly being at a church picnic when I was about ten? years old. The hot dogs were perfectly grilled, with the crispy little lines on them, and I remember squirting them with that fluorescent yellow mustard and thinking I had never tasted anything so delicious in my life. The weather was perfect. I kept going back to the outdoor grill, and one of the church dads was grilling, and he kept saying (delightedly), “You want another one??” I don’t remember how many hot dogs I ate that day, but it was probably five or more. It was a lot. (was that the beginning of it all?)
Imagine my horror when I grew up and realized that hot dogs were not, like, the perfect food. We don’t eat them at home anymore (except when my mother wants them–she has NEVER given them up, and she’s 86) although we do enjoy the occasional chicken-apple sausage (yummy, but not exactly the same). I felt like the only place where I could legitimately enjoy a hotdog was at a baseball game. I mean, who ISN’T eating hot dogs at a major league baseball game?
Obviously, I have not been to a ball game since January. Sigh. NOW what do I do. I did have some ideas about hosting a healthy tailgate (oh GOD) in the parking lot beforehand, but I have something else going on all day, so wouldn’t have time to prepare anything.
I could, obviously, eat ONE hot dog and it would not kill me. But there’s that slippery slope. And I’d probably hate it anyway. (would I?)
I have to make a plan. I have to find the one vegi-burger stand in the entire stadium, and do that. Or else pack a bunch of random things in a carry-in bag: carrots, hummus, apples, cheese. Sigh.
No hot dog? No garlic fries? Realllly?