My Food Addictions

My food addictions are never easy for me--or for the people around me. It starts with that first taste. I bet it's a lot like the reaction a drug addict has to crack cocaine.
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My food addictions are never easy for me--or for the people around me. It starts with that first taste. I bet it's a lot like the reaction a drug addict has to crack cocaine.

My whole town has closed up, which is surreal. Some rich dude bought the street, the stores, the whole community, really, and has torn everything down to build a new mall. I hope it's not going to become the Grove, which he also built. I only went there once, and it was like Disneyland. And I don't mean that as a good thing.

Back to food. One restaurant on our main drag closed long ago, preparing for the demolition. Now the French place, Maison Giraud, has closed too.

The restaurant kept posting on Facebook that there were X amount of days left. On the final Wednesday, I walked in at around 2:30 to see if I could pay ahead for them to save me some croissants. One plain, one chocolate. Their counter was cleaned out. The answer was no. When I turned to leave, I see a figure, my height, that I can't make out. She is backlit by the bright afternoon sun in the floor-to-ceiling mid-century window that will be torn down in just weeks. She says, "I know you." I walk closer and she tells me she is Joanie, a girl I went to high school with. Joanie! "Yes! I know you, of course, Joanie." Then we conspire.

Turns out, I have a kindred spirit in this chick, whom I barely know. We exchange thoughts on how brilliant the croissant is at Maison Giraud. We had the same idea, which is to order ahead for our last taste of Paris on this coast. Joanie, my new best friend, and I walk outside and keep discussing our love of food. It's rare to meet people that feel exactly as you do. She writes about food. I eat food.

Now let's talk about my cravings - the ones that do turn into addictions. For me, the food equivalent of "Groundhog Day." The pastries from Maison Giraud did not fall into this category. I could get one, eat it and it would sate me for weeks.

At the same time every morning I have my oatmeal. The same time every night, for the last four months, basil lemonade. Drinking lemonade has fast become a fully realized addiction. I must have it. I crave it. I have one more nightly ritual. At close to 11:00PM I eat a piece of cake or cookies that I've baked myself, with a cold glass of milk. When I have the stroke, you'll know why.

When I get into a new food fad, it comforts me. I'm not keen on change.

I lived on tuna sandwiches as a kid. I hated peanut butter and jelly. Hated hot dogs. Hamburgers. Every day I was sent to school with a tuna sandwich. I carried this addiction into my adult life. I bought cans and cans of Geisha white meat tuna, packed in water, not oil, and added many spoonsful of mayonnaise. My mother put it on white bread. As an adult, I graduated to wheat. Potato chips are important with my tuna sandwich. Always potato chips.

In high school, I had a serious fling with turkey sandwiches. They had to be eaten daily. For a period of time, I liked them on egg bread at Nibblers. For a six-month stint, I liked the turkey sandwich at Wil Wright's ice cream store. Which was crazy because it was processed, not real, turkey. Always with lots of mayonnaise. And chips were vital.

When I was 15, every day for around nine months, I'd walk to Haig's Market on Bedford and Olympic and buy a Kaiser roll. I brought it home, slathered it in butter and enjoyed the cardboard-tasting roll that I paired with a nice bottle of Coke. Let's talk about Coke. I had a six-a-day habit until my early 20s. My dad had cases sent to our house weekly. Any cavity we got was blamed on my father. Still, I dug my Cokes. A friend's mother, who was obsessed with weight, talked me into Tab. I tell you, it caused a problem with my metabolism, leading me to gain weight. I was fine and skinny on my Coke. Tab addiction for me lasted forever. Finally, I turned Tab in for Diet Coke. I drank that until I had a breast cancer scare and a friend begged me to stop. I stopped. It wasn't cancer. I now drink tea. Tons of tea, all day long.

For a few years, while raising my kids, I made biscuits every day from scratch. For my kids? No. For me. I came across my Granny's recipe and made them until the addiction ran its course. That's what happens with me and my food obsessions. It's like a joke that gets driven into the ground. I just keep going until I either get sick of it or move on to the next thing.

I went through a Crab Louie affair that lasted, off and on, for a few years. I lived in Malibu at the time and the salad was at the Farmers Market in Hollywood, so it was quite a schlep.

Pecan pie served warm with whipped cream. I might have even liked it as much as sex in my 20s. Not a healthy relationship. Luckily, I had my own personal short order cook, in the form of my mother, to bake it for me on demand -- at any hour, day or night. Hef's mansion, with his private chef, ain't got nothin' on Evelyn Duke, who made this pie from scratch. It was her way of showing love.

Daily, during school hours or sometimes after, I went to Beverlywood Bakery on Pico to pick up cookies with colored and chocolate sprinkles. An almond cookie, which was HUGE, with a large dollop of chocolate in the center, was another short- lived fixation.

When my kids were very little, I had a chocolate chip cookie phase. It lasted at least ten years. I mean, every single day I baked them. My way of showing love. I could make a new batch in less than 15 minutes. Prep time, less than five.

As I write this, I feel egg salad and I might be doing some time together. I've made egg salad three or four times in the last two weeks. This could get serious.

On the Friday night, before Maison Giraud's final two days, I texted my best friend Kimberly: You don't have to do this. But, still. I mean Michael (my husband) is out of town or he would do it. Only if you're up early on Saturday or Sunday, will you go get me a plain and a chocolate croissant? It's fine if you can't.

Saturday morning rolls around and I get this text: I have been in line since 8. I am now getting them for my family too. I want to know what's the big deal since I've waited so long. Jeesh. Next text: Got em. You up? Was in line until 9:30. I never had a croissant that was supposed to be the best in the world. And listening to all of those people talk about them was worth it! And of course to make you happy! I love that she got caught up in the frenzy. I'm not sure I would have waited an hour and a half for myself. Not to mention, she got an expensive parking ticket.


Oh, it gets more awesome.

Sunday I wake up to this text from Kimberly: Kathy (Kimberly's friend) bought you more croissants. Call her when you wake up. Here is her number.

Apparently, word had spread in my small community that I needed dealers feed my habit.

Thanks, Kathy, for using two of your six-pastry-per-person limit on me.

Au revoir, Maison Giraud - until we meet again.