Land of the pastries, home of temptation

I have discipline. I am capable of self-control. My Achilles’ heel, however, is my sweet tooth.

France cruelly invites my weakness. The patisseries are a constant battle for me. I cannot resist the croissant or pain au chocolate during our 10-minute class breaks. I make myself busy, tell myself it’s not necessary, but then I see the other students eating pastries from thin brown paper bags, consuming each crumb. My mouth salivates with envy. Even though I may have had the same morsel the day before, I always imagine that today’s batch is better than the last and I succumb to the temptation. When in France, right?

When I cross into the nearest shop, I observe the bakers in their workspace. They are unfazed by the treats staring back at them. Their figures show no sign of pastry consumption. It wasn’t until I was able to go behind the scenes that I understood why.

I helped another student film a pastry chef for a story, which allowed six hours of mouth-watering observation. The pastry chef stood out against the cakes in the display case. Unlike the cakes, sitting idly and waiting for consumption, the pastry chef never stopped moving.  The chef scrambled from one station to the next and never stopped to catch his breath. I was panting in the workspace, which contained an oven a third of the room’s size, as I rushed to follow him with my videocamera. But the chef, who was most deserving of a huge slice of the cake, ate only a few crumbs in a lackadaisical way. This was just another day on the job.

Inspired to become a pastry chef for the cardio workout and self-restraint, I considered my sweet tooth. What would happen to it? When I bake cookies at home, half the batch is lost before I open the oven to slide in the sheet. But if it were a job, I would probably have the same mindset as I do with my writing — turning in the best I can produce and never feeling satisfied. I could have rephrased that better. The dough needs more sugar. It’s all the same.

My sweet tooth and my writer’s mentality won the battle.  I want to appreciate every bite, every guilt-laden calorie that crosses my lips. I will criticize my writing until long after it’s published, but even the dissatisfaction is satisfying. It pushes me further. Making sure that the next batch, the next blog post, is better than the first.  I type away, pastry in hand. That satisfaction is worth every sit-up.