When I was a young nerdling, I used to live for the day when they passed out the Scholastic Book Club catalogues. They came on thin, tissue paper and I always had mine filled with circles and stars to mark the books I wanted. I’d take the catalogue home at the end of the day and my mom and I would do The Reckoning, a delicate dance wherein I would try to talk her into buying me as many books as possible, while she tried to talk me down to two or three.

Today as I was doing a purge of the bookshelf where the cookbooks live, I found the first one I ever bought, The Pooh Cookbook. It also came from one of those Scholastic catalogues. Leafing through it, I found that the cover page contains my name and address in eight year old kid writing. The recipes that looked especially good to me at the time were marked with an X. There were a lot of X’s in the dessert section. Some things never change.

The only thing I remember ever actually making from the book is a birthday cake recipe with pink buttercream frosting. As memory serves, the one time my mom helped me make it, it was not so much because a birthday cake was in order as because we had all the ingredients for it. I don’t even remember how the cake tasted, but I do remember how fun it was to make it together.

That’s the thing about food. You have to eat to live, but it is also such a social experience. I think that’s probably one of the hardest parts about dieting. So many celebrations and gatherings involve food. It’s also one of the things I love about my Weight Watcher’s plan and all of the phone apps they offer. I don’t have to miss out. If I plan carefully, I can do all those things and still feel normal.

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