The Necessity of Indulgence

The Necessity of Indulgence

I can’t remember the last time I ate a bacon cheeseburger.

I had half of one when I lived in L.A. Once. It was sometime in 2015 or 2016. My roommate and I split one at a restaurant. It was very good. Come to think of it, it might not have even had bacon.

Last December, my office Christmas party put out cheeseburger sliders and I had a couple. Okay, maybe several. That almost counts.

At family BBQs, I usually have hot dogs and sides. I had a turkey burger or two last summer. But a good old bacon cheeseburger, bun and all? It’s been years.

I have been craving a bacon cheeseburger for months now. I think it’s all the food shows I’ve been watching. When I get home from work and sit down with my dinner at 9 goddamn 30 PM, I like to watch either Food Paradise or Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. No joke. I LOVE both of these shows. (And yes, I adore “Triple D” host Guy Fieri who is lovable and fun and charming do not argue with me about this.) These shows feature the most delicious-seeming dishes from restaurants all over the country, and they’ve honestly made me want to expand my own palate, which is used to routine and restriction.

Speaking of which, yes, perhaps my bacon cheeseburger cravings have been due in part to my almost one full year of logging calories daily into myfitnesspal, an app that has made me think about literally every single thing I put in my mouth. I mean, it works. It’s been the only way I’ve successfully lost weight, the two times I’ve successfully lost weight. And it sounds more restrictive than it actually is – I’ve been maintaining my weight for the last few months, so I have more wiggle room with my daily limit now. (Lately, I’ve been enjoying keeping it “under” Monday through Thursday, then going over Friday through Sunday. Anyone who’s friends with me on there can look at my diary and confirm that I kind of go crazy on the weekends.)

So last night, I decided that today was going to be the day. Today I was going to eat a bacon cheeseburger.

After walking the dogs and going food shopping (I like going early before anyone has disrupted the broccoli display and taken all the good cauliflower), I ran 5.6 miles this morning. It went great. My knee has been doing well. I had an ice pack on it last night because it was a little “hot,” and I popped an ibuprofen before bed. When I woke up, it felt fine.

Again, I wasn’t concerned with pace at all. It actually never even crossed my mind until a few minutes into mile 5, when I wondered how fast I might be running. When I finally looked at the end, it was faster than I thought it might have been: 9:28 min/mile – a hair faster than the pace I ran the Cow Harbor 10K race at age 25. I’m 43 now. This is now my easy pace. Think you slow down after 40? Nope. Nope you don’t.

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Afterwards, I even did a lower body mostly squats/lunges workout to build up my appetite. I wanted to be ready for this burger.

I asked my dad to come with me, because he’s been staying with me this past week and also he probably spent like a million dollars on me growing up so the least I can do in my adult years is buy the guy lunch. We tried Dix Hills Diner first, the place I originally wanted to go. Not one open spot in the parking lot. So we went to Sweet Mama’s on my dad’s recommendation. There was a parking spot (only one), but about 50 people waiting inside. We left after two seconds.

I thought we could try downtown Northport, seeing as there are a few burger places within walking distance of each other. Shipwreck Diner (where I had some great fish & chips last summer) was packed, but then we considered Skipper’s, a seafaring themed, wood-paneled pub/restaurant that my dad remembered had good burgers. Skipper’s has been a fixture on Main Street for as long as I can remember and the few times I’ve been there, I enjoyed it. Even better: there was no line. We made a beeline for the door and were seated immediately at a cozy back booth.

I am so glad we went to Skipper’s. Because this bacon cheeseburger with Swiss cheese, cooked medium rare, was truly amazing.

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My dad actually ordered the same thing. Also with Swiss cheese, because the love of Swiss cheese is apparently something I inherited from my father, along with curly hair and a deep-seated need to hang wet towels on drying racks.

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My dad ordered sweet potato fries, which were delicious (of COURSE I had a few), but I opted for a side of vegetables on my plate. Somehow, adding fries into the meal seemed too much. Too heavy. The bacon cheeseburger was decadent enough. I wanted everything else about the meal to seem light so the burger could really shine, as much as 8 oz. of ground beef can shine.

Maybe this sounds a little dramatic, but eating this burger was one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a while. I know it was just a burger. A very good burger, but still, it’s a hunk of meat with trimmings. It’s not supposed to be that important. But it truly felt like more than just a meal. It represented what I hope will be a continuation of allowing myself to be more adventurous with my meals and more accepting of indulging in cravings. I’m not going to eat like this every day, but I can every so often. And I’ll be fine. Great, even.

I’ve gotten so used to restricting myself – even with my more indulgent weekends, the most decadent thing I usually have is almond butter and non-dairy chocolate. Now that I’ve satisfied this craving, I honestly feel more relaxed. I wanted something nice, and I gave it to myself. I treated myself. I was good to me.

Another nice thing about Skipper’s: the service is great. Our waitress was awesome. I actually can’t wait to go back there again. I might try the fish & chips next time. If you’re ever in Northport, go to Skipper’s! And order a burger. Or whatever the hell you want. Be good to you.

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