Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back from the buttel / Cravings


This charming fachwerk street is in Wolfenbuttel, from which I just returned after a month's research on fasting. Luckily the food there was exceptionally good, so I had no incentive to be influenced by my new maudlin topic. We shall see what it does long term though. Maybe a new weight-loss plan?
In any event, it was very interesting that there were certain things I craved while away. It might seem the nature of craving is merely to desire what we can't have, and I have to admit upon returning home among the first things I went out to buy were my favorite cerignola olives, an Il Fornaio cibbata and a bottle of decent zin. Can't explain any of that, as there were very good olives and extraordinarily good bread in Germany, and even zins - but for some reason I had to have these. And now I could really go for a few filets of raw herring and a good rye bread. And a heady dunkel. So maybe it is wanting what you can't have.
But I think there is also something physiological at work, informing our cravings. CertainlyI find jonesing for salty things is triggered by a real metabolic imbalance. This explains potato chip cravings too. And sometimes there is nothing that satisfies like a really sour food. A proper kosher dill, Bubbies of Stockton are among the best I have ever tasted in a jar. But for some reason, which I attribute to my own particular chemical makeup, I never crave sweetness. Ice cream is ok, but I'd take good cheese over it any day. Chocolate is lovely but I've never gone out of my way to get some. Cake is among the most boring things in the world to me.
Can it be that each of us, have not just favorite foods, but things our bodies demand to keep us going in good order, that the hypothalamus, or whatever part of the brain it may be, triggers us to desire? Intensely, uncontrollably? Triggered like the libido, sometimes against our better judgement. When chips call, there is no denying them. I think that may be the only craving I absolutely have no control over. They must not be in the house, or I will consume them, as quickly as possible. Even to the point of nausea.
Is there anyone else like this or am I just mad?

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