I got myself a new family doctor two years ago because it seemed a bit absurd having to drive to St. Thomas, Ontario to see my childhood family doctor every time I needed medical attention. My new family doctor has an office in the Guardian Drugstore, which is right at the end of my street. It’s very convenient. And Dr. Choy, my new doctor, is very nice. A bit young, and a bit bossy though. Actually, I hated him all last year because it felt like every time I went to him with an ailment he’d sneak in something about “studies show that dropping even ten pounds will help blah blah blah.” I’d come home and look in the mirror thinking to myself, “That Dr. Choy just called me fat to my fucking face man!” And then I’d do that old classic trick where you suck in your stomach as much as you can, and then stick it out as much as you can, which is so hilarious that I’d forget all about mean Dr. Choy. But still, I’d go back to Dr. Choy and I’d leave absolutely furious! It was like he was judging me and the lifestyle that I suspected he suspected me of having.
So for this year’s annual physical, where I knew Dr. Choy would be measuring and weighing me, I prepared myself: About a month before my appointment, I eliminated snacking and I started running on Saturday mornings. And there’s all that bike-riding I do too. I ended up losing six pounds. If that wasn’t going to impress skinny little f–king Dr. Choy than I didn’t know what would.
Unfortunately, the night before my physical, I had a dinner party, for which I made a peach pie.
This wasn’t just any dinner party though: This was the night of burrata benedict–a meal imagined by my friend Laura, who includes her fake website, http://www.burratabenedict.com in her comments on this blog, such is her enthusiasm for this dinner. To be honest, I had my doubts about her dream of layering burrata cheese, her dad’s homemade prosciutto, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce on top of a toasted english muffin. But when she told the Beast about it, his eyes lit up like the fourth of July. So I figured, Why not? And besides, how many calories could possibly be in a few eggs with some yellow sauce? (Thousands.)
Plus, it meant I got to crack open maybe the nicest early birthday present I can think of: a state-of-the-art 11 piece stainless steal cookware set by Mr. Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton. It was on sale at The Bay and my mom and Russ insisted on getting it for me.
Included in the kit was a an actual device to poach eggs!
After I made the pie, I sort of figured all the work for the dinner party was done because you can’t really poach eggs or make hollandaise sauce in advance. I took it easy, had a little glass of wine, and by the time my guests arrived, I realized I still quite a bit of work to do–something I normally neurotically hide when I have friends for dinner: the kitchen is always clean and orderly, and dinner and dessert are always prepared to the maximum point of being prepared.
For starters, I didn’t even know how to use my poaching machine, so Laura Googled instructions on her iPhone and dictated them to me. Plus, I’ve never made hollandaise sauce so my friend Steven read aloud Julia Child’s recipe for it, which, if you ask me, is rather complicated.
And I physically needed help, or else we’d be eating dinner at midnight. Laura rose to the occasion and prepared the salad, using fresh vegetables she brought from her Dad’s garden.
And Steven cut the homemade proscuitto, and he must have read the recipe for the hollandaise about ten times to me, but I finally got it.
The Beast stood to the side, making sure everybody’s wine glass was filled.
The egg poaching machine appeared to be working perfectly.
It just came down to timing in the end–having to coordinate the toasting of those muffins, the stirring of the hollandaise, the crisping of the prosciutto, the unpackaging of the burrata, the opening of wine, the re-heating of the roasted potatoes with lemon and garlic, the assembly of the burrata benedicts–but once the ball started rolling, there was no stopping us.
The potatoes were a little cold.
Actually, everything was luke warm, at best. But it didn’t matter: the burrata benedicts turned out perfectly. PERFECTLY.
Laura had brought along two different sorts of burrata, both sourced from The Cheese Boutique: one was traditional burrata and the other had a touch of truffle in it. I had the truffle on my eggs benedict and I was in heaven. Every mouthful felt sinfully wrong.
After dinner, we enjoyed the peach pie with a small siphoning of bourbon. All in all, it was a richly epic meal: It’s how I imagine emperors would have eaten hundreds of years ago.
In the morning, I weighed myself before work, and before my physical.
Beast: What is it?
Foodie: I gained three pounds overnight! F–king burrata benedict!!!!!
Beast: That was a good dinner though. And do you think it’s healthy that you’re trying to lose weight only to spite your doctor?
Foodie: I am going to impress that f–king Choy no matter what!
It turns out Dr. Choy was impressed with a modest three pound weight loss, but he was more impressed with the inches I’d lost around my waist.
Dr. Choy: According to our records you’ve lost two and a half inches from your waist.
Dr. Choy: I’m very happy about this but I’m also wondering if we recorded something wrong last year. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to lose that many inches accompanied by only three pounds of weight loss, but it’s a little surprising. Do your pants feel looser?
Foodie: Oh yes! Yes they do! (No they don’t.)
Dr. Choy: Well then that’s wonderful! You’re blood pressure and heart rate are both excellent too. And by the way, we’re more concerned with monitoring your waist than your actual weight. Studies show blah blah blah.
All I heard was, “I’ve taken you out of the fat file and put you in the not-so-fat file.” I was elated! Dr. Choy was already treating me differently, like I’d somehow changed.
And I decided then and there to like Dr. Choy again. But I may have overcompensated a bit by talking too much, which included me telling some white lies to further impress Dr. Choy.
Foodie: Well, I have been watching what I eat. I actually had lost six pounds but it looks like I gained a bit back. But, you know, being a food writer is difficult…
Dr. Choy: You’re a food writer? That’s exciting! Who do you write for?
Foodie: Oh, you know, all the big ones.
Dr. Choy: That’s great. But it says here that you’re an “editorial assistant” in my records; should I update it to writer?
Foodie: Well, I’m still an editorial assistant…but I also write about food, which means that I have to eat A LOT, so it’s like, difficult for me to be, you know, like, a stick.
Dr. Choy: I can imagine. But we don’t want you to be a stick. I’m sure that you know, since you work in media, how unhealthy some of these so-called role models are for young people today blah blah blah.
All I heard was that I now worked in media and was young and not fat.
That’s what I call a good day.
Too bad I double-checked my waist measurement when I got home only to find out that Dr. Choy’s assistant recorded it incorrectly: I’ve only lost one inch since last year. And now I’m screwed for next year because it’ll look like I gained an inch and a half.