Today, I had lunch and was working this afternoon out of a local Panera Bread near my house. I’ve been temporarily working at home the past couple of weeks, so I decided to put some pants on and get out of the house (just kidding, I totally wear pants when I’m working at home. Not that you would know if I didn’t.)
My former carb-o-holic self started to rear its ugly head. The smell of cinnamon bagels, brownies, coffee and breads saturated the air, and it created a sense of calm over me. It also created a sense of hunger in my belly, but I was able to resist any extra temptations. It smelled like gluten-laden-goodness, but I realized that I wasn’t HUNGRY, I just wanted them to have them. Yay for learning the difference.
I was busy mooching off free wi-fi and knocking out my to-do list when a group of three Panera managers sat near me and discussed the baked goods of the present and past. As I
eavesdropped overheard comments about how they wish they still had chocolate chip bagels, I had a flash back of my first real job when I was sixteen.
My friend Anne started working at the place first. I quickly followed suit, lured by slightly-over minimum wage and the need to get out of my house. At 16 years old, I was gainfully employed at Bagel Bay.
As you could imagine, Bagel Bay was a bagel shop. All bagels, all the time. We also made sandwiches on bagels, but bagels were the business. No fancy salads or soups like Panera has. Just bagels. Doughy, nommy delicious flavored bagels. We also had bagel chips made from leftover bagels, that were divine when dipped in the crack-like honey mustard sauce. Get the point?
The fondest memory that I have from Bagel Bay is that of the cheese bagels. Those who worked there would make our own special cheese bagels. After the bagels came out of the proofer, we would sprinkle cheese on the specified cheese bagels. But on ours? We would pile the cheese a few inches high. When it melted in the oven, you were left with a gooey, cheesy mess of deliciousness. The prized part of these special creations, however, was the melted cheese pooled in the center of the bagel. We always hoped that our cheese-center would be the best. Crispy on the bottom, and gooey-greasy on the inside.
Thinking back, is it any surprise that I gained probably 25 pounds in the few months of slinging bagels? Heck no. I put myself in a situation to fail. At that time, I was 16 and very active swimming on my high school team and Tae-Bo’ing it on the weekends with Anne. Unfortunatley, the activity wasn’t enough to keep the pounds from piling on. I quit a few months later when tennis season started (although the bagel weight still didn’t come off).
Another reminder of how long this battle has gone on, and also of how much progress I’m making.