Vacations…I highly recommend them.
We just returned—the five of us—from a week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the memories are still so very fresh. I’m still in the ‘this time last week, we were…’ mindset. Still sorting through the pictures on my phone. And still replaying the laugh-til-we-snorted moments that wouldn’t be funny to anyone else.
We hiked and climbed, ate outrageously overpriced food, and bonded with a mother moose and her calf. We also tackled the Snake River, toured Yellowstone, and contributed to the local economy considerably.
Did I mention we ate a lot?
I’m really not sure if it was the fresh mountain air, the up-and-down, all-around trail hikes, or some unfounded sense that we would never eat again, but whatever it was, come meal time, we all ate like there was no tomorrow.
It was no surprise then, that besides the usual souvenirs—t-shirts, postcards, posters—I brought back a couple of extra pounds as an intensely personal memento. You know, just to be sure I didn’t forget my temporary lapse in willpower.
And I would do it all again…in a heartbeat.
At first, my intentions were oh-so-diligent in regards to my carb counting, salad-eating, remember-what-you’ve-worked-for menu selections. But first day out, we were late getting into town, the lines were long, and the burger place seemed like a please-all solution. And it was.
And my resolution to eat only the patty disappeared as soon as our friendly waitress set the food before our ravenous eyes. We wolfed down mile-high mountains of burn-your-fingertips onion rings, smoky sweet potato fries, and waffle cones overflowing with double scoops of housemade, organic cinnamon ice cream like we hadn’t eaten in a week.
Or at least since noon.
To my credit, however, before we even left Liberty Burger, I was overcome with guilt, contrition, and conviction to do better the next day. After all, I had packed my favorite peanut butter as my go-to, high protein breakfast option to head off any attraction to chuckwagon breakfasts, fresh-from-the-oven croissants, or waffle bars.
I was, as we ‘mountain folk’ like to say, ‘loaded for bear’ against the evil temptations of breakfast buffets.
What I hadn’t planned on and braced for were the still-warm sugar and cinnamon bagels schmeared with honey and walnut cream cheese and drizzled with honey. And I certainly hadn’t anticipated an up close and personal encounter with the best latte I’VE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE made with whole…you read right—WHOLE milk. Sweet Jesus. It was the best breakfast I’ve had in years.
And that, my friends, is where the wheels came off.
From there, it was just a hop, skip, and a risotto away from total abandonment of the disciplines I’ve practiced the last six months. No carb in the state was safe. Nary a grain of refined, white sugar was left untouched. Breads, chips, chocolate croissants, doughnuts, cookies, brownies, homemade s’mores!, and daily lattes were all laid waste.
Each meal was better than the last.
Each dessert sweeter, more extravagant than the one before.
And then it dawned on me…sure, the housemade fries and the full-fat ice creams and the fancy-schmancy aiolis were indulgent in every sense of the word, but what filled me so much more was the five of us, around one table, laughing and teasing and ‘you-gotta-try-this’-ing with one another meal after meal after meal.
It was a sweet and satisfying revelation to realize that whether it was sandwiches alongside Old Faithful or restaurants made famous on the Food Network, the delicacy of our group around the table was the best dish I had all trip.
Like I said…vacations…I highly recommend them.
Am I the only one who plays and re-plays vacation memories in my mind all year long?
What? You, too?
What are your best vacation memories?