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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Moore

Homemade vs Not

It’s the secret second slice that gets ya.

I’m feeling pretty out of it.

Dizzy. Foggy. My teeth ache and there’s a peculiar metallic taste in my mouth that I’m not quite sure how I can recognize since my tongue has the pins and needles of being asleep.

They had donuts at work today. And a homemade breakfast casserole. And homemade granola with fresh berries and French vanilla yogurt. And lemon Bundt cake with cream cheese icing. I emphasized ‘homemade’ a couple times in there to emphasize the point I’m going to make three paragraphs from now.

I am a firm believer that no foods are off limits to the typical person. Non-typical being celiacs, diabetics, alcoholics, people with PKU – there are foods those folks should definitely never have. But for the rest of the adequately-functioning people, the food frontier is wide open.

Wide open, but not with reckless abandon. There have got to be some qualifiers, some boundaries, some guidelines on what makes a ‘face down in the breakfast buffet’ acceptable. Among the top of that list, there is Homemade. A food made from scratch, by an actual person, is more nutritious than the store-bought version of the same food. There is likely a huge similarity between homemade and store-bought from a macro/micro nutrient point of view, but I’m not a biochemist and I’m not your traditional nutritionist anyway. Actual chemical composition isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the kind of stuff that you can’t get in a box. Caring, planning, preparation, thoughtfulness, kindness – all the things that go into a breakfast casserole or pecan and honey granola when you make it at home to take to the office and celebrate your coworker’s last day. That’s good stuff. I’m all for eating homemade food.

You will notice that ‘homemade’ was not a modifier for the donuts nor the cake. That’s because the donuts came from Dunkin’, and the cake came from Nothing Bundt Cake in Vienna. The donut I ate was decidedly dry and corporate. The cake, to its credit, was so moist you could wring it out, but it was technically a store-bought cake. Now, it did need to be special ordered and picked up by one of the office staff on her lunch break, and it did come with a lovely card signed by everyone in the office, and they did sing “For she’s a jolly good fellow,” so that gained points, and the slice I enjoyed in the breakroom with the adoring crowd was entirely appropriate. It was the second slice that got me.

Sugar is addictive, no doubt about it. I had that donut, and the granola, and the Bundt cake and then I went back to my desk and thought obsessively about all of them for 3 hours. I’m not even exaggerating. My brain was completely consumed with the cake, in particular. The cream cheese icing, the so-fresh-it-was-cool-to-the-touch cake… one slice wasn’t enough. So I snuck (snuck!) to the breakroom, stealthily hacked off a chunk (stealthily!), stood by the sink alone (stood! alone!) and shoved cake down my throat.

And now I feel like this. Crashing off sugar and miserable. I’m drinking gallons of water on the off chance I can flush it out of my system (you don’t have to be a biochemist to know that’s not how it works).

The day was mostly good. I had some delicious homemade food with a wonderful group of friends. That’s the lesson. Indulgences taken in community, in celebration, are truly sweet. It’s that handful you grab when you’re bored, that forkful you stab and stuff when you’re angry, that bag you polish off in the dark when no one is around, that’s when indulgence becomes illness. The line isn’t is fine as some would like to have you think. And think is exactly what you have to do when you’re staring down that second slice of cake.

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