Cherry Bomb

I have a very strong craving for a Manhattan right now. Which is weird, because I've never had a Manhattan before. I can taste one in my memory so clearly, though.

I suspect what I'm remembering is eating the cherries out of my dad's Manhattans when I was little. They tasted better than regular maraschino cherries (which I also loved), so I'd always beg my dad for his when we'd go out to dinner and he'd have a cocktail. I can't remember how old I was (7? 8? I remember the table we were sitting at, but not the restaurant or the occasion) when my mom caught on that I was enjoying the taste of the alcohol as much as the cherry, but when she did, she cut me off. I don't think I've had a Manhattan-soaked cherry since. And yet the memory—and the craving—lingers.

The craving is even odder when I consider that I don't really *have* cravings anymore. My close friends will be shocked to hear me say this—most know me as the Craving Queen—but since I gave up sugar in April (or rather, since I got used to not eating sugar, which was a couple weeks *after* I gave it up), I'm not only more even-keeled in general, but I'm also no longer ruled by my cravings. I can walk into a Metropolitan Bakery now and buy only the Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread. I feel no emotional attachment to the chocolate cream cheese brownies or the Metro cookies. I vaguely remember enjoying cupcakes at Starbucks, but I don't salivate when I see them (or any other baked good) in the case. Instead, I find myself inspecting the sandwiches.

It's a weird sensation, to be craving-free most of the time. I did notice that when I was under extreme work stress a couple weeks ago that my mind turned to thoughts of an incredibly dark, dense chocolate cake (though I wanted the chocolateyness more than the sweetness). Once the stress passed, the chocolate craving did, too. I've also noticed that if I eat popcorn, I'm more likely to want sweets the next day. I can't for the life of me imagine what brought on cravings for sweet vermouth, bourbon, and angastora bitters, though. Perhaps it was that I was just looking at photos of Austen and my parents, and it reminded me of when I was a child? Perhaps I am empathizing with my mom because I want to cut Austen off from sipping my decaf lattes before he forms a Starbucks habit? I'm not sure.

In any case, the bourbon-and-bitters craving is waning now, and I've no use for a maraschino cherry. A little snuggle from my kid, however, would totally hit the spot.

Posted by Lori in food at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2006