Sunday, 12 April 2015

#Awethors Takeover - Isaac Jourden

Welcome to the 4pm post in the twelve-hour #Awethors Takeover!

Don't miss out on the giveaway of Isaac Jourden's "Petty" at the bottom of the post!

Celebrating The Get Down With The ‪#‎Awethors‬ event!  Go to the Facebook group page to discover prizes, challenges, your favourite new authors and more!

What I Learned Paying $15 For A Single Jalapeno Popper

By Isaac Jourden

I did it. Thirteen weeks ago I started a medically supervised weight loss program through the Ottawa Civic hospital, which includes, most notably, a twelve week fast on nothing but Optifast 900 protein shakes, water, and nothing else.
I lost 72 pounds. While I was on the shakes I thought about food constantly, especially the deep fried, heavy foods I love. I had some good days and some bad days. The good days were a breeze, filled with energy and cheer. But on my bad days I couldn't think of anything but food - literally. I couldn’t hold a conversation or do any writing. If I did use the internet I’d find myself, almost against my own will, browsing the menus of local area restaurants that offered delivery. On those days I could barely sleep, and when I did, I'd dream of being in places where everyone was eating - wedding receptions, birthday parties, cafeterias - but I couldn't.

“A true nightmare.”

The fast ended, and now we were beginning the slow transition back to food. My plan was to implement healthy, measured eating, but I was curious. I'd been very careful while on the fast. I only had the shakes – no unconscious eating, no “cheating,” no taste testing the meals I still cooked daily for my wife and son. I decided that I was going to try just a few bites of one of my favorite foods from the past: Jalapeno Poppers. (If you haven't tried them, it's a slice of jalapeno dipped in cream cheese, breaded and deep fried.)
It's cold as hell in Canada in Jaunary (and, I admit, I didn't want to be seen in a Pizza Pizza by someone in my weight loss group), so I decided to order delivery, like I used to every single day. I decided I would only eat a few. $6 for the food, $3.50 for the delivery fee, and another $4 to tip the guy, plus tax on it all. Almost $15. But what the hell, it wasn’t a habit, so I decided to look the other way on the ridiculous cost to food ratio, just as a one-time thing.
I placed the order and a minute later the phone rings. The pizza guy is on the other end of the line, wondering what the hell I'm doing ordering $6 of food for delivery and paying $9 in taxes, tip, and fees to have it sent out to me. I assure him that I haven't lost my mind, or rather, that I probably have, but I'm okay with it. The food is on the way.
I wait in my apartment and immediately I can see that doing this sort of thing in the future is a mistake. I can’t think of anything else but the food. Forty minutes just gone, lost to food-daydream paralysis.
So it shows up. I'm repulsed even by the smell of it, before it’s even the apartment. The moment the driver opens the delivery bag, I can smell it. It smells like fryer grease and desperation. Oil and bad decisions. The smell I remember working eight hours a day standing over a deep fryer in a deli. I don't remember it being so overpowering before.
dipped the first one in plum sauce and tried a bite. It was exactly how I remembered it. Spicy, sweet, creamy. I was sure this was the same flavor from twelve weeks ago. There was one key difference: It was disgusting.
It's hard to explain why, exactly, because something being deep fried is so common in our culture we never even think to describe the deep-fried-ness of a food. It was oily, greasy, and overpowering. I almost spat it out. I tried a second bite, because after all, this was one of my favorite foods. Same result. There was nothing "wrong" with the preparation of it. It had all the same flavor I remembered. After three months without it, it was utterly unappealing.
After 12 weeks of craving fried food continuously and two years before that giving into those cravings far, far beyond what could be considered healthy or maybe even sane, right now, I feel like I'm done. I have no desire whatsoever to try any deep fried anything. For the first time since as long as I can remember, I have zero interest in fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, or any of that. I don't even want to try bacon, pizza, hamburgers, sloppy joes, or anything else particularly fatty or greasy. It used to be the only things I truly enjoyed eating. Now, it turns my stomach just thinking about it.
I'm not saying my tastes won't change with time, but for now... ugh. Pass.

Isaac Jourden

Isaac Jourden is an American novelist living in Canada. His first novel, Petty, is the humorous story of a small time thief working over amusement park patrons, and is available now at and wherever unapologetic cynicism is sold. His second novel, The Gravedigger’s Girlfriend, is due out summer/fall 2015. It’s a comedy.

All the sales from the book in April go to AND all book purchasers are entered into a drawing to win an gift card (or more!). all the details are at

A version of this entry originally appeared on on February 20, 2015. Isaac has now lost 94 pounds, and still hasn’t touched another bite of fried food.

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