I’ve been working on my wheat belly since the day I started on solids. My mother’s culinary witchcraft has led to a lifetime of chronic overeating. I simply couldn’t stop eating her magical food. No one was immune. My friends would literally beg to be invited over for dinner. After each meal, when we finally let the spoons drop from our limp fingers, we would clutch our distended bellies and whimper with pleasure and pain.

I remember one day I found my mother standing over her bubbling cauldron stirring something that looked delicious. The tantalizing aroma made my knees go weak and my mouth water.

“Can I try a little?” I pleaded.

“NO!” she replied indignantly, “It’s for the dog!”

When she wasn’t transforming random scraps into three star Michelin guide-worthy dog food, she was conjuring up wondrous meals for us. Each bite would make you want to weep with joy and fall on your knees and beg for mercy because surely you must be committing a mortal sin by eating something so impossibly, wickedly delicious.

One day there was a piece of rubber hose lying around on the kitchen counter. My husband wandered into the kitchen just as my mother was throwing it away.

“I’m so disappointed,” he said as he watched her put it into the trash can, “I thought you were going to whip up a delicious casserole with that.”

It had been a long time since we’d been to Arlington, and this weekend my mom pulled out all the stops for us.

On Sunday morning the smell of bacon, pancakes, and eggs lured the kids out of bed.

“I wish breakfast could be like this every day,” my son said dreamily as he tucked into the feast set before him.

“Dream on, kid,” I said as I crammed mouthfuls of magic into my mouth.

All day long, my mother would disappear into the kitchen at intervals and come out bearing some new triumph. The kids ate as if in an ecstatic trance…

One time she emerged from the kitchen with a crumpled paper bag that looked vaguely familiar.

“Look what I have!” she said, “It’s a Royal Cookie!”

“MOM?! Is that the cookie I bought at the rest area on our way home from Christmas in New Jersey?!”

It was. She divided it up and we ate every last crumb. And yes: somehow even that three month old cookie stored in nothing but a paper bag tucked away in my mother’s cupboard was magically delicious.

It’s called sorcery.

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