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Cheesecake. What I wanted for lunch was cheesecake. Quick mental calculations told me that a slice of cheesecake – plain, the best kind! – would yield about as many calories as a relatively healthy salad. So cheesecake it was! The day before, it was ice cream. A dripping cone of strawberry gelato that made my fingers sticky and my soul joyful, for a moment. I bought it at a deli, surrounded by a crowd of half-masked lunch-goers buying soups and pastrami on rye. When it was my turn, I stepped toward the counter and blurted out “One scoop of strawberry gelato, please.” Middle-aged sales clerk sized me up for a moment.

“You’re not getting lunch?”

“No. Just the gelato, please.”

She tossed, what I imagine, was a look of judgement. Or maybe – more likely – she was just exhausted and couldn’t care less about what I ate.

Was I at all concerned about the frequency with which I replaced normal food with gluttonously sweet, decadent food? Should I have been? Perhaps. The truth was my relationship with food was somewhat tumultuous.

Relationship with food – when did this even become a catchphrase? In childhood, there was no “relationship.” Food was just a side-note, a necessary aside in a steady flow of life. I scarfed down mostly whatever was offered to me, consuming soups, pierogies, noodles with cheese, whatever fruits were in season at the market, and porridge – lots of Soviet porridge. As an adolescent in the U.S., being a dancer with the metabolism to match, I was all skinny limbs and no hips. I ate anything I wanted, whatever the school cafeteria served that day, or whatever I could find in my parents’ on-the-fringes-of-the-middle-class fridge. My staples when going out were hash browns smothered in cheese and onions, and topped with chili. I weighed 110lbs all through high school, stepping on the scale only for monthly dance team weigh-ins. Otherwise, I didn’t own and didn’t touch a scale, ever. Didn’t need to.

I own a scale now, fancy digital one made out of glass. It takes up prime real estate........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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