12 desserts a day, ice cream 16/7, and HP

Life on a cruise ship is not for the faint of resolution. I got home yesterday from our week cruise from Seattle to Juneau and Ketchikan. We had lovely accommodations, excellent service, and great food. In fact, on our ship, there were five places to eat. There were three formal dining areas and a "grill" with burgers and hot dogs, and a 16-hour buffet with non-stop entrees, snacks, desserts, and ice cream, both hard and soft. It was an extravaganza of edibles.

The food in the buffet was pretty good. The food in the dining rooms was terrific. We ate most of our meals in the Vista Dining Room with elegant table settings and formal service and a view of the water. The breakfast menu was substantial; the lunch and dinner menus each offered four courses of gourmet food, including a choice of 12, count 'em 12, different desserts at both lunch and dinner.

After an appetizer, soup, and an entree, I was never hungry for dessert but that didn't mean I didn't want one. The first couple of meals were okay. I ordered the fruit plate and watched the 5-6 other people at the table eat their warm fruit crisp with ice cream, or the chocolate mousse cake, or the special combination of creamy sauce and caramel and pound cake, or the baked alaskan, and I felt virtuous.

Then it got tougher. My commitment began to waver and I started to feel immensely sorry for myself. I'd go up to the Lido to the buffet to get hot water for tea and watch people strolling with waffle cones of chocolate or mango ice cream, licking their lips and talking about how fabulous it was. At lunch one day in the dining room, a woman went on and on about the bread pudding with whipped cream that showed up at lunch each day at the buffet and you could eat all you wanted. I wanted to push her overboard.

My commitment wavered a bit more. "Maybe tonight I'll have dessert," I said to Melanie, the friend I was travelling with. It was day 3 and I was really tired of the fruit plate.

"Well, you could," she said. "How would you feel about that afterward?"

"I don't know," I wanted to say, but it was a lie. The dessert would go down and I would want another. And so I told her about the waffle. On day 2, I ate breakfast in the buffet by myself. I ate eggs and bacon and toast and then decided I could have a waffle (hot, fresh) with fruit on it. There was hot maple syrup to go on it, and hot chocolate syrup, and hot caramel syrup but I'd have fruit. So I did. And it was delicious and that wasn't the end of it. For the next 48 hours, that waffle was in my thoughts. Or rather another one like it was in my thoughts, maybe two this time, maybe with caramel. I do love caramel. And I was right back into craving. I didn't eat another waffle.

The last indecision occured at dinner on Day 5. We'd opted to eat in the very fanciest dining room (it cost extra) and the food was fabulous. And I decided that I could have dessert. Just this once, on this special occasion. I was all set to do it. And when the dessert menu came, there were 6 choices: 5 had alcohol and the 6th was cheesecake, which I don't like. And I realized my higher power was intervening for me. And so I ordered the fruit plate.

There's a PS to the story. Other than no dessert, I ate what I wanted. And from the deliciousness of the dishes, I would guess I consumed enough butter for most of Portland. But when I got on the scale this morning, prepared to have gained some weight, I had lost 5 pounds. Go figure!


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