October 28, 2012

Pickles and Ice Cream: On Cravings


One question that I've been asked a lot has been with regard to food cravings. The stereotype of the hungry pregnant woman wanting odd or extreme combinations of flavors in large quantities is one that permeates our entertainment media. And when I reflect on my pregnancy thus far, it has had  moments of ringing very true.

Early on, one of the first things I wanted was broccoli rapini, grilled with garlic and lots of lemon. Chris was happy to oblige and we ate it as a side dish with many of our April dinners. Thankfully, the Italian market always keeps some on hand. I also wanted milkshakes. All the milkshakes in the land, ideally with some salty and sweet combination of flavors. Chris concocted an incredible Speculoos-themed one that I still daydream about.

In the first trimester, sometimes eating left me with a metallic taste that was unpleasant so I found myself gravitating toward lots of vinegar and citrus to neutralize or supersede that. And when I say citrus, I don't just mean oranges. Both pre- and during pregnancy, I have eaten my fair share of halved lemons and limes. I am a big fan of garnishes as snacks. Raw green peppers have also been very appealing to me, throughout this pregnancy. Salads with lots of vinegar and a tiny bit of oil hit the spot.

Cilantro. Basil. Ripe (in season) tomatoes. Aged balsamic. Watermelon.

Hummus. Eggplant. Kale. Dry Ricotta and other salty, hard cheeses.

My mom's chicken and dumplings (which I always crave anyway).

All of the above, please!

When berries came into season, I couldn't get enough of them (especially blueberries and black raspberries). Currently, I feel that way about apples (specifically winesaps). Also, I have been intensely craving ripe pomegranates and keep buying them before they're ripe, just in case I luck out and get one that is ready early.

Thus far this list makes me look like the healthiest fruit and veggie fiend on the planet. It's both misleading and incomplete! I love desserts and sweet treats. I was so excited to see the spread of cake and cookies at my showers. Although I adore chocolate, that craving has taken a back seat to my desire for cannolis, almond flavored cake, thumbprints, and pizzelles.

The other interesting thing about my cravings is an intense desire for all the pre-packaged foods I enjoyed as a child (when I could convince my mom to buy them, that is). I had a week late in my second trimester when I was DYING for an iced cherry pop tart. Although (other than ice cream) I tend to avoid the freezer section of my grocer, I've craved those cheap and sodium-rich party pizzas and Stouffers frozen vegetable lasagna that were meals my friends and I would make ourselves as adolescents, after school. I haven't indulged that urge because I fear the heartburn havoc that would surely result. But I've yearned for them, inexplicably.

Oreos. Goldfish Crackers. Laffy Taffy. BBQ chips. Plain Cheerios. Toaster waffles. All of these foods have given me pangs of want. I've avoided many of them by just avoiding their sections in the stores but I did cave on a few.

Orange juice and grapefruit juice, specifically tart or sour versions without any added sugar taste AMAZING to me and have since the beginning. I think in general, my senses are heightened so smell and taste are both better when something is good and worse when something is bad.

Lately, I've wanted curries, stews, cinnamon, and whoopie pies/gobs. But to be honest, none of these desires are out of the ordinary for me during the fall.

Oh and there's also pickles.  Chris makes my favorite ones. When we didn't have them on hand (because cucumbers weren't in season at the farmer's market until mid-summer), I tried a few store brands and was left craving his even more so than before.

That reminds me that I need to acknowledge my incredible good fortune, to have a partner who is such an avid lover of foods and home cooking. Although I try my best to contribute to our meal planning and executions, Chris's talents far exceed my own. And he has kept us both incredibly well fed during these months of random food wants. He's my favorite.

I'll be back with 35 week belly shots tomorrow or the next day!

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