So here it is, the beginning of August, not exactly the best time to embark on a diet. Though, strictly speaking, fall, winter, or spring isn't much better. So then the question begs, when is the right time? "Never," my stubborn heart replies. "Never?" my weary brain echoes.
If memory serves, it would take just two weeks at age 25 to drop, say, eight pounds (applying guru-like devotion to thrice-daily poached eggs on toast ... or my sister's sworn jujube diet from the 70s — those tiny pellet candies guaranteed to toss your parents' hard-earned dental-work money right out the door).
These days a diet demands a starving-and-exercise regimen that maybe offers up two negligible pounds. And really, when was the last time someone stopped you on the street and said, "Wow you look great, what did you lose ... two pounds?"Then there's that summer pizza at A Mano. Am I really willing to give that up? Not that there isn't fall ravioli at La Piazza Bistro Italiano. Or winter mozzarella. But summer pesto is where I draw the line. It's just not negotiable. And yes, that pesto, the Moosewood Cookbook pesto, with heaping cups of Parmegiano-Reggiano and all that golden Italian virgin olive oil which, it's beyond me how I never before noticed, is 120 calories per tablespoon.
"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," says my newly size 4 neighbor. She looks adorable, really younger, obviously thin, but I keep waiting for her to gain the weight back. You know, rejoin the fold. But there she goes, running around the block, even before I've had my morning coffee and halvah, she's practically airborne, flying svelte-like down our street.
Anyway, I guess now is as good a time as any to spill the beans. Here's my confession. I'm a size 6. Remember the commercial from the 80s, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful?" Well, don't, because I'm not. In the words of my husband, I'm chubby. And I don't just tell you this to subvert your anger at me into wanting to strangle my husband. He's right, I am chubby. Hello, my name is Lori and I'm a chubby. Recently I was at the Wild Duck Pond with my husband and my beyond-chubby, zaftig friend when I alluded to his cute little elephantine endearment.
"Let's take him down ... now ... you and me," she said with conviction. "There, against that bus."
And she could, too. Easily. As in no-contest arm wrestling. But, of course, she was kidding, kind of, and we all went and shared a peaceful pizza and a pitcher of beer.
- A Mano 46 Chestnut Street Ridgewood, NJ 07450 – Monday and Tuesday, buy one, get one free: any entrée, pizza, calzone. Try the quattro formaggi pizza (no tomato sauce, four cheeses including caciocavallo from southern Italy) and the Margherita pizza. Ask about the Panna Cotta dessert special (buttermilk, tasting like crème fraiche, with blueberry compote) and the what-diet-where cheesecake with sour cream glaze and fresh ricotta made on premises. Say hi to the wonderful manager Greg Stott.
- La Piazza Bistro Italiano 29 Chestnut Street Ridgewood, NJ 07450 – Lobster ravioli is a must. Perfect for children -- Rigatoni con Salsiccia (rigatoni with ground sausage served in a light pink sauce), skirt steak perfectly seared, but a bit much on the lemon. Cannoli to rival Ferrara's in NYC.