Content Warning: discussion of calories and eating-disordered behaviours.
In our modernised, materialistic world, we are used to mass-produced commodities. We can expect our machine-manufactured goods to be, for the most part, pretty uniform in size, shape, and appearance from one item to the next. That’s why, when we find an extra-long beef-flavoured hula hoop, or NO wafers in EIGHT KitKat bars, it makes the news headlines and we find ourselves experiencing a vast array of emotions from mild amusement, to pure outrage.
I assume the majority of us, myself included, just find these little occurrences mildly amusing and chuckle-worthy. Just the other day, I found five Kellogg’s Kraves joined together in a little snake shape, which provided a whole three seconds of chuckling.
Today, however, the discovery of an abnormally little pitta bread wiped that grubby smile off my face.
As we’ve by now established, the kitchen scales and I have a tight bond and I foolishly trust the nutrition labels on food packets far more than is rational, putting me on a par with the anti-vaxxers (which, for the time being, I’m going to continue bury my hypocritical head in the sand about).
The rules of thumb here are simple. There are X calories in one of these pitta breads, therefore, they don’t require weighing. But there are X calories in X grams of this particular cereal. Therefore, it needs weighing.
There are exceptions to these rules of thumb, but these exceptions are also arbitrarily rule-based and I won’t bore you with the minutiae. I am generally thankful, though, that “things that come in ones and twos” don’t require weighing...because heaven only knows how often the batteries in the kitchen scales would need replacing.
I was excited, consequently after my aforementioned trip to Tesco Extra, to try some new multi-grain pitta breads that were on special offer. They came in a six pack, nicely stamped with a nutrition label telling me how many blasted calories one pitta contained (as well as per 100g of product, which is the norm on these labels). I was relaxed, content, with no foreseeable issues.
But, to my horror, as I opened the packet later that evening, pitta number two of six was half the size of the other five. So much so that I hadn’t noticed because it was hiding between pitta one and pitta three.
What is a girl supposed to do in this situation? If one pitta contains X calories...and here I have five pittas of a set size, and one abnormally little pitta...how does this fit into my system? Who am I to believe? Do I count the little pitta as equal to the other pittas, or do I resort to making this a weight-based operation?
I suppose this type of conundrum could’ve been dealt with before if I were to be a consumer of the crust slices of a loaf of bread. Crusts are renowned for not being equal to “a typical slice”. I hate food waste, so I’m not the type to just throw crusts away. Fortunately, I currently live with my parents, so I’ve unofficially resorted to just leaving the crusty business to them and consuming only slices that the woman upstairs considers “typical”. It’s not a perfect system, but the whole loaf is consumed one way or another, so it works for now.
However, I find myself still sitting on this pitta conundrum. I could cop out and just ask my parents to finish the pittas...but unfortunately neither of them “are a huge fan of pittas”. And this feels like something I should tackle myself. I bought the pittas; therefore, I am responsible for their demise. I am yet to resolve this issue, and thus said pittas now live in the freezer and may do so for some time until I’ve done enough overthinking.
It would be nice to say that I was carefree enough to forget about the existence of the pittas in the freezer, and stumble upon them in a number of months when hopefully my relationship with food is a few steps healthier.
But this, alas, is not how my brain works. I know the pretty much exact contents of the fridge, freezer, and cupboards at pretty much all times, even the things only my parents eat. No wonder I sometimes feel like I’m experiencing super-early onset dementia...I’m not losing my memory, my brain is just full of a third of a bag of seafood mix, six crumpets, 200g blackberries, eight veggie burgers, 17 gyoza, 150g cooked chicken breast, and a packet of stupid multi-grain pittas.
”In life, you have to take lots of decisions and if you don't take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do.”
~ Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time