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.