Sunday, December 03, 2006

Clotted cream

In case you really just haven't been listening, I have gained an enormous amount of weight since moving to the States. Now mind you, this is a period of almost seven years (wow!), so it's not like I came here and just ballooned overnight. And it must also be noted that I was not exactly svelte for most of my adult life in Toronto. But in the end (and the middle, quite a bit), I'm just outright fat now, and although I will acknowledge a good life that includes quite a bit of yummy beer, I blame the weight entirely on one thing: The automobile.

Last time I was in Toronto, I discovered that I was actually huffing and puffing a bit as I trekked around town. Of course I had reverted to my usual walking speed, which Luther says is much too fast. And of course I used transit and thoroughly enjoyed being back in my own element, where I know how to get from A to B and how to do so with a free stop (no extra token required) in order to pick up that bottle of wine on my way home. But on this last visit, it was clear that my body was no longer up to city life. It was shocking, to say the least.

More shocking still was a walk up some stairs the other day, when I was carrying my computer and my lunch pail, and I felt the stairs in my calves and my thighs, and got to the top a bit flushed and even light headed. What the hell?

All of a sudden I realized that on top of the walking that is normal in Toronto -because there is plenty of transit, but the bus doesn't pick you up at your door, and the subway is below the ground- there is the carrying to be considered. I never used a car (I didn't know how to drive, in fact), so not only did I walk a whole lot at a decent speed (because I wasn't walking to enjoy a walk, I was walking to get somewhere), but I carried everything I needed.

For those of you who drive daily, think for a moment about how much stuff you tend to have with you at any given time. Purse, maybe, if you're one of those girly types. Bag of books if you're a student. Mug full of coffee, or bottle of water, possibly a big bottle of water if you're spending the day out and about. Wallet, comb or hairbrush. Bottle of wine if you're on your way to that dinner party. Groceries you picked up on your way home. Four six-foot-long boards with which to build your brick-and-board bookcase in your new apartment. You get the picture.

I didn't just walk. I carried.

So here's the thing. In Toronto, I ate really well. It's hard not to eat well in a city so favored by fantastic restaurants and markets. I drank quite a bit, thank you. And I rarely exercised, if ever. I was not svelte, to be sure, but I was not a damn heffer either!

Next time I hear someone prattle on about improving their quality of life by getting out of the city, I'm going to give them quite a piece of my mind, I tell you. Yay, country life! Where you can become a very happy dumpling.

All of which came to mind sharply this morning as I was browsing some gift possibilities online, and came across a store that sells clotted cream. I was introduced to this delicacy at an impressionable age, and it remains the epitomy of fucking delicious in my mind to this day. A nice, fresh scone. A little dab of strawberry jam. And a generous dollop of clotted cream. The cream isn't sweetened. It's just cream, and it's rich, and incredible.

I won't be ordering any. Not until I have to once again walk to the store. At which point... I'll probably be somewhere that I can buy the cream in person.

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