Finding Comfort at the Bottom of a Peanut Butter Jar

How much is too much chocolate peanut butter?

That was the question I recently posed on Facebook, mostly to entertain my friends.

But I also really wanted to know. You see, I had found myself eating 200g of the stuff two days in a row.

Is that too much?

Almost a year ago, I was handed a list of foods I apparently can’t tolerate. I was told that they have been the cause of 20 years, or so, of digestive and iron problems. In an effort to gain control of the resulting discomfort, I have followed my new, pared down diet religiously. And too great effect.

I have discovered, however, that I can’t cheat, not even a little bit, without incurring the wrath of the stomach gods. So I don’t bother trying anymore.

No gluten, dairy, egg whites, yeast, turmeric, garlic, chick peas…unfortunately, the list goes on.

My upcoming trip to Italy should be spectacular. But I digress.

A month after I began this whole diet thing, I tried to bake something, following all the new rules. It was horrible! I had wasted my precious Sunday afternoon and all my expensive new baking goods, and I had nothing to show for it.

My husband found me, a sobbing mess, in the middle of the kitchen, a crumbled loaf here, a pile of grainy “flour” there. I declared I would never be able to make anything I’d like to eat again.

And so, I embarked upon a quest to find new comfort foods, baked by other, more professional restricted-diet types.

I discovered a vegan cupcake bakery down the street that has a gluten-free selection of cupcakes and cookies, as well as coconut milk ice creams. The health food store next to them sells yeast-free, gluten-free bread and coconut milk yogurt. A second vegan bakery makes nice (that’s a qualified compliment, as my husband tells me my taste buds have changed after a year of eating all my new foods) gluten-free cinnamon buns. And a raw/vegan/gluten free take-out nearby makes to-die-for date brownies.

I have also found that Kettle Chips are gluten free. And Glutino makes highly addictive gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free pretzels. I’ve never eaten so many pretzels in my life.

The nights that my husband makes his wonderful yeasty, garlicky pizza, I make gluten free pasta with my own garlic-free tomato sauce, prosciutto, fresh figs, olives and red peppers.

So, I can cook my own food successfully now.

I even have managed to start baking wonderful treats, finally, that meet my dietary restrictions. I make a nice pumpkin bread, a wonderful apple crisp (my family even agrees!), and this past weekend, Canadian Thanksgiving, not only did I make myself some nice hazelnut-crust pumpkin tarts, but I actually made an entire, traditional Thanksgiving feast – that I could eat. Gravy, wild rice stuffing, the works.

The best part was that no one noticed that it was cooked to meet all my requirements.

A year ago, on that sad, sad day, I never would have believed it possible.

But I still get frustrated. I still have days when I need that extra bit of comfort that only food can bring.

What do I eat then?

Armed with my Glutino pretzels, I open the Peanut Butter & Co. dark chocolate peanut butter jar and plow through a good 200g or so of the stuff. Pretzel after pretzel. Sometimes, I even use a civilized utensil to scoop it out. But not always.

Chocolatey, peanut buttery, pretzely goodness.

It doesn’t get much more comforting than that.

Written in response to Writing the Fire’s appetizing prompt about tomato sandwiches and finding comfort and simple happiness in every day things.

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