April 07, 2008
The milkshake. Wait, I'll back up. I've been off dairy and white flour products for a year. Off sugar and meat for about 6 months. I've been making valiant attempts to eat organic produce and avoid alkaloid-ridden nightshade vegetables. All in the name of health, mostly. Saving the planet maybe a little too.
But all my efforts did not keep away my yearly sinus infection. After 2 weeks of living in a congested, antibioticized daze I deserved a reward. Yes, that's it! Something to congratulate myself on finally feeling better. Something comforting and indulgent. Suddenly an undeniable image appeared in my mind: Bartley's Burgers. The smell that wafts down Mass Ave and lures pedestrians in off the street reached me, two towns away. In my mind I knew this was the reward I deserved so very much.
So we went. We ordered! I am an American! I deserve this. I sank my teeth into that burger and pulled away and unsatisfying bite of mostly bun. I tried again, teeth grazing the beef. I pushed away thoughts of feedlots, stun guns, and methane. The burger was...ok. I couldn't enjoy it. The fries were ok too. The satisfaction just wasn't there. The taste didn't draw me in and drive me to consume every last bite like I remembered.
But then, there was the milkshake, of which I drank down to the bottom of the glass with glee. After months of limited dairy and sugar, it was pure heaven. Delicious. And worth every sip. Until 20 minutes later when I was staggering around Harvard Square, my blood sugar exhausted. But in that moment...the milkshake definitely, definitely won.