I’m a food writer. I develop recipes for publication, and I test and taste and teach and in every way immerse myself in food all the time. I know for you civilians, it sounds like a trip to heaven. And really, I can’t complain, I am doing what I love and getting paid for it.
You knew there was a but coming, right?
The risk of doing what you love as a job is that you might fall out of love, or at least need a trial separation.
For most of my life, I loved and craved chocolate like everybody else. I loved it so much that I took up truffle making, and did an annual truffle ritual. Starting in Fall, I would test new flavors and work up new recipes. I would have tubs of my luscious new ganaches tucked into my fridge, where they met and exceeded my every chocolate craving. Then I would teach a few truffle classes and make my holiday gifting truffles. After a long day at work, I would come home and take my truffles through their various stages, either making the ganache, scooping, or dipping. I even had my own tempering machine. Sometimes my shoulders ached, but I had to stay on schedule. This would go on for a couple of weeks, then I would package up all the truffles and organize them, packing some to mail to family and friends, keeping some to give to local friends.
As the years went by, I found that I didn’t really want to eat them anymore. In fact, I only tasted little bits of the fillings and then gave every single one away, not eating a truffle for years at a time. If we had an extra box in the fridge, it sat there until it dried up and I threw it away. Eventually, just smelling melting chocolate made me feel tired. The smell of deep dark chocolate smelled bitter to me, and made my tongue ache as if it were scorched.
I stopped making truffles several years ago, and some day I hope to want one again. I enjoy a little chocolate now and then, but even that has ceased to have that siren song. Chocolate cakes, cookies, all those are fine, but no big whoop. Unlike most women I know, I have no chocolate obsession. I have a whole drawerful of premium chocolate bars, chips and nibs, and sometimes they actually go stale. I need them for recipe work, so I keep it stocked.
Now I am working on a dessert book. It’s packed with recipes that appeal to me, with crunchy, oaty streusels, creamy puddings, tender cakes and big fat cookies, all made with healthy, whole ingredients. I promise you will love it, it’s all really tasty.
Why, last Sunday I had Pumpkin Bread Pudding for breakfast, Plum Tart for Lunch, Coconut Shortcakes with Bananas and Coconut Cream for snacks, and Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce for dinner. I added some yogurt to the dinner for some protein, and I took a few supplements, since this is not a balanced diet.
Folks come by and pick up these extra treats, and my husband takes them to work. But I wonder, could we make a sweets aversion program out of recipe testing?
I promise you, sugarplums no longer dance in my head, and strange cravings for things like salad have replaced them.