I have been a bad girl. A very, very bad girl.
Now I know it is not PC to describe myself as a “bad girl” by virtue of the food I have consumed over my vacation, but it’s the only way I know to describe it. I have been very, very bad.
But I don’t even feel guilty about it, because I am on vacation, and calories don’t count when I am on vacation.
Vacation means that I can eat with abandon– be bad– very bad— without the guilt. I learned this from my kids’ pediatrician. She taught me that the key to a healthy household is not to keep any “junk” food in the house—no chips, no cookies, no ice cream. “But when you are on vacation,” she informed us, “there doesn’t need to be any rules. Let loose. Go crazy. Have the kids go to the market with you—let them buy and eat whatever they want.”
“What if they want Lucky Charms?,” I asked.
“No problem. It’s just a week.”
I’ve taken that advice pretty much to heart, keeping my house a reasonably clean eating zone, at least Monday through Thursday. Other than the occasional quarts of frozen yogurt, you won’t find much “junk” food in my cabinets. I buy lots of organic vegetables. I eat lean meats. I can’t remember the last time I went to a bakery. Not even for a bagel.
Enter vacation mode, where there are no rules.
“What’s for dessert?” Mike asks me after “dinner” aboard. “Dinner” is not really “dinner” in a traditional sense. Dinner is just a very long, glorified cocktail “hour,” which usually starts at 5 PM and ends at after sundown. A few lemon vodkas on ice, mountains of local cheeses with crackers, smoked salmon with capers, feta cheese dip, hummus, perhaps a bit of Burrata (that’s the fresh mozzarella that has the creamy stuff in the middle) topped with a little olive oil. Dinner may not be traditional, but it is very yummy and quite unhealthy, and on vacation there is always dessert.
“Dessert is….” I give it a little bit of suspense because we have so many options… “…Tonight’s dessert is… the fudge we bought this afternoon!”
“I don’t really even like fudge,” he tells me.
“Then why did you buy it?”
“I know you like it.”
“You mean it’s a… Sympathy Fudge?”
I give myself a congratulatory laugh at such a wonderful joke, and then eat Mike’s portion of fudge in addition to my own. He goes for the Chips Ahoy cookies, because he is still a little boy and we can’t be on the boat without a package of Chips Ahoy, preservatives and all.
I refuse to feel guilty about a breakfast ice cream cone, because it is Shains of Maine Peppermint Stick, and it is my favorite.
I refuse to feel guilty about the Cape Cod Salt and Vinegar chips, a half bag a day (at least) because I need the salt (it is so hot out, and I don’t want to be dehydrated.)
I refuse to feel guilty about chocolate covered almonds. Black licorice. Swedish Fish.
I refuse to feel guilty about the nuts– almonds, pistachios, peanuts.
I refuse to feel guilty about the beer tastings at the local breweries. How else would I have found my new favorite Beer (it’s Ellen’s Coffee Stout, Atlantic Brewery, Bar Harbor, but good luck finding it.)
I refuse to feel guilty about the onion rings, or the fries, or the butter on the baked potato.
I refuse to feel guilty about the fresh cookies, the brownies, the endless flow of fresh breads, because finding the bakery, buying the goods, and eating them, has become a sort of mission. It is my observation that every island in Maine that is inhabited by more than say, 4 people, has a bakery. One day, we get fresh foccacia bread on a tiny little island, so hot out of the oven it burns our hands as we rip into it. We eat most of the loaf before we get back in the dinghy.
I refuse to feel guilty about the deep fried lobster. I just can’t get over the fact that there is such a thing, and that I actually order it.
I am literally hung out on Bake and Brew Lane.
Eating with abandon on vacation is an awesome idea. The problem comes when your vacation is more than a week long.
I’m starting not to be able to button my jeans.
Would someone wheel me home?