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I’m craving a mystery

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

I felt it driving home the other afternoon, that gnawing feeling deep in my core. I wasn’t hungry, but wanted something to eat. I was craving ... craving ...

What exactly was I craving?

Something sweet ... or salty ... a big, ol’ hot biscuit slathered in butter ... some shrimp ... a cookie ... fondue? No. None of that.

I couldn’t put my finger on it. Man, I hate that.

My mind flashed back to some 19 years ago. Things were so much simpler then. Nine times out of 10 I knew exactly what it was I wanted to eat — a big ole hunk of battered and deep fried fish from Captain D’s. And don’t even try to bring me fried fish from someplace else. It had to be Captain D’s.

You didn’t mess with this pregnant woman’s dinner.

It came out of nowhere, this obsession. I had never desired the “delicacy” before I became pregnant, and then it just hit me — one day I was driving past the Captain D’s and heard a flock of angels singing, beckoning me like deep-fried sirens to pull into the drive-through and get a fried fish snack meal. It was mere days after I’d finally gotten over my morning sickness, where even the thought of eating anything fried and greasy sent me running for the bathroom. Not anymore. I wanted fish. For lunch, for dinner, for late night snack.

What was I thinking?

I often wondered if my obsession would affect my unborn child who, by that time, we knew was a boy. Would my little man grow up to, himself, love deep-fried fish from Captain D’s? Would the pounds of it I was eating while pregnant somehow make him smarter, since everybody knows fish is brain food? His father once suggested that the baby would probably come out (a) with a fish filet on its head or (b) battered. I am happy to report neither circumstance and, quite frankly, think him quite bold and brave to say such things to me in the hormonal state I was in. It was not pretty.

With my daughter, it was cream cheese.

“The usual,” I would say each morning that I walked ... okay, waddled ... into the Bagel Break. By my sixth or seventh month, I was making a couple of trips a week there for my whole wheat bagels with strawberry cream cheese slathered in the middle. Again, this was only after many weeks of morning sickness, of which my proudest moment was nearly throwing up in the filing cabinet at work.

As weeks went by and my belly blossomed, I noticed they began to pile on more and more cream cheese. Maybe they felt sorry for me. I don’t know ... maybe they feared for themselves, that if they skimped on the cream cheese the big, lumbering pregnant woman who looked like she was carrying an industrial size sack of potatoes in each butt cheek would climb over the counter and kill them. This go around, my husband didn’t make fun of me. I think he was scared of me, too.

Thankfully, my cravings while pregnant did not hinder the growth or intelligence of our two beautiful children. Our son does, on occasion, enjoy a fried fish sandwich, and our daughter does like herself some strawberry cream cheese every now and then. I feel compelled to report that I have not had Captain D’s fried fish going on 18 years now. I am still trying to work the grease out of my arteries. The day our son was born, my craving simply disappeared just as quickly as it had come.

Which is what I wished would have happened the other day, driving home. I was craving something ... but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Boiled peanuts ... collard greens ... those Little Debbie Swiss cake rolls ... sushi ... Sweet Tarts ... chicken gumbo? Nope, none of those. And it’s still there ... that dang feeling ...

Man, I hate that.

Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.