I was heavier in college. Or as my mom would say, “you look healthy!” Her sweet voice going up one octave as she tried to be honest and sensitive at the same time. The pitch of one’s voice always rises while stretching the truth.
It’s a common phenomenon, the so-called “freshman fifteen.” Or in my case, the freshman twenty-five. It makes perfect sense now. I had left the comfort of my home to be nourished only by strangely globular and flavorless cafeteria food followed by a tall sugar cone filled with sugary soft serve with sprinkles. Gross, I know.
Another contributing factor to the college chub was my chocolate addiction. Addiction seems like a strong word but that’s really exactly what it was. I often walked many New York City blocks out of my way to purchase the high-end German milk chocolate bars with hazelnuts at the specialty corner markets. I was hooked. And though I have loved hazelnuts for many years, this was my only association with them; those damn chocolate bars that made me fat at NYU.
But in recent years, I have discovered that these wonderful little brown nuts have a place in a lot of healthier fare. I love them roasted and sprinkled on salads of beets and goat cheese, on chicken like Skillet Chicken with Heirloom Tomatoes, Foraged Mushrooms, Arugula and Hazelnuts. and most recently on Seared Scallops with Chickpea Couscous, Warm Summer Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and Tarragon Aioli. And yes, once in awhile I still enjoy those delicious milk chocolate and hazelnut bars…just not every day.