Dowling: Kicking the creemee habit

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(HOST) Commentator Leora Dowling is remembering one of the sweet temptations of summer, and celebrating its disappearance in fall.

(DOWLING) Labor Day has come and gone, and the smell of apples is in the air.

Fall seems to be arriving early this year – but maybe that’s my imagination since we only had about a week and a half of hot, humid weather. So while most people say they love autumn, I suspect a lot of Vermonters aren’t quite ready to see the long gentle days of summer slip away again just yet.

But I’m ready, in large part because now most of my favorite creemee stands display "closed for the season" signs.  You see, this summer despite the rain, or maybe because of it, I developed an addiction – to creemees.

It was a mental rather than physical addiction, but it was strong. I caught myself fantasizing about those glorious rich swirls of white all the time.

And once I even thought: I hope my husband doesn’t smell ice cream on my breath.

All summer I’ve used a multitude of excuses to justify my obsession:

Life is short and summer is shorter; I’m helping the local economy; I’m only getting a baby cone; it’s a calcium serving; they’re cheap – it’s not like I’m buying a four dollar latte.

But I knew that too many creemees, no matter how inexpensive, wouldn’t be cheap in the long run. A wardrobe of larger-sized clothes costs a lot, and so does poor health caused by clogged arteries, high insulin levels, and cavities. And you can’t put a price on guilt. No, the last thing my body needed was more sugar, fat and calories.  But that’s exactly what it craved.  I didn’t want cookies, cake, cola or even chocolate. I wanted – a vanilla creemee.

I know addiction is far from funny, whether it’s drugs, gambling, shopping or eating.  I knew I had to face mine, tell someone about it, and then wean myself off creemees – or at least cut back.  I began redirecting my thinking.  If I found myself fantasizing about a dense, intensely flavored creemee while at work, I would put the thought out of my mind — or envision myself with a triple chin.  Then I made a deal with myself. If there was a line waiting to order at the snack bar I passed on my way home, I would keep driving.  Of course I was always torn between hoping no one would be on line and that the line would be really, really long.

But I stuck to that bargain and slowly began to kick the habit – although in the end I had to go cold turkey.

So it will be a good day when my favorite creemee stand, the one with 85 cent baby cones finally closes.  Temptation removed for another 8 months.

But alas, autumn ushers in pumpkin pie season.  I like mine with homemade whipped cream, although vanilla ice cream is good too.

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