Everyone has a set of thresholds protecting them from doing the things they have decided they are better off not doing, some of which are stronger than others.
For example, I would not normally eat curry sauce when at an Indian restaurant, because I know they often load it up with sugar and salt (depends on the quality of the restaurant, of course.) Yet after a glass of wine, I usually find myself dipping my grilled tandoori chicken pieces in Mrs M's masala sauce. After two glasses, there is a good chance I will be finishing off her curry for her, which means eating a lot more of the sauce. I rarely go beyond two glasses of wine, but if I do, I may be tempted to start nibbling on poppadoms or other non-Paleo foods I would never touch when sober.
Stress and CocktailsThere is also a baseline level of resolve upon which these different thresholds sit. If I am feeling very determined at the time, then I may be able to resist all these things after a couple of glasses of wine; but after a stressful week at work or a long period of strict adherence to my dietary rules, my baseline of resolve may be lower and I am straight onto the poppadoms after one glass.
The trouble is, the one thing I find it hardest to avoid after the first glass of wine is...another glass. So the crucial moment around which the success or failure of my resolve pivots, is the decision on that second glass of wine.
A few weeks back, after a stressful week at work, I failed the second glass of wine test. I then failed the third glass of wine test and a number of subsequent tests which, thanks to my companions, saw these tests stray increasingly into the realms of cocktails I had never heard of.
Late ShopWhat followed was not pretty. I had a sudden moment of clarity after drink number seven, and hauled myself into the unsteady moonlight to cross the city on foot and go home before I did any more damage. Until then, I had fortunately not been in an 'eating' situation, so none of my self-control thresholds had been under attack (other than the ones about each consecutive drink!)
However, as I passed a late shop, something snapped - the culmination of a week of stress and at least 4 strong cocktails warped my reason and drove me into the shop with what was probably a look of wild determination.
King-Sized SnickersThere, I purchased a king-sized Snickers bar and then continued my journey home, eating as I went. As fate would have it, I happened upon another late shop and with my self-control now in tatters and my sugar craving fired up, I bought a Boost bar, a large, chocolate-covered flapjack - which I noted contained nearly 1000 calories - and a boxed cake that was not in a chiller cabinet. More on that in a moment.
I then continued on may way, devouring the Boost in a few bites, before tackling the flapjack, which turned out to be denser than a neutron star. This took a bit more work, but by the time I stumbled upon my third shop, I had disposed of that, too.
Gregg's BakeryIn spite of already having a cake in a box, I had to buy something from the shop I had now found. It just seemed too good to be true that I had found a Gregg's Bakery open at 11.30pm on a Saturday. I bought a vanilla slice and a cream donut. By now well and truly gripped with cake fever, I demanded some fresh cream from the pimpled youth manning the counter. He worriedly explained that they don't sell cream. A cake shop that doesn't sell cream? When I had finished haranguing the poor kid about the absurdity of a cake shop where you can't buy cream, I strode the final half mile home.
Recruiting Mrs MOn the way, I phoned Mrs M to let her know I had cake. As you know from The Great Cake Porn Tour, Mrs M is a sugar fiend extraordinaire and can always be relied upon to stray from the path of righteousness when suitably goaded.
So here's the thing: when we had eaten the fresh cakes from Gregg's, I was still good for more, so I cracked open the boxed cake that had not been in a chiller cabinet. Why had it not been in a chiller cabinet, you might be wondering? Perhaps negligence on the part of the vendor? Did it turn out to be off?
The Non-Food CakeNo. This cake was not in the chiller cabinet because it was not food as we know it. It was immune from perishing because it was constructed, so far as I could tell, from non-food ingredients. When I am in the grip of a sugar frenzy, almost nothing can hold me back - but even I could not finish this cake. Mrs M took one mouthful and made a face like she'd had a spoonful of hornets. I thought her hair was going to fall out.
I will save the detail and ingredients for another post. I tracked down the company that manufactures it and am thinking of interesting ways to contact them. Letters of outrage are not necessarily the best way in this case. I am oddly in awe of them, because they appear to have achieved the very apex of food corruption, the zenith of nutritional vacuity. More on this soon.
The Worst Cake in the World?
The Great Cake Porn Tour