Okay, almost soda-free. Since I published the photographic evidence in Monday's blog, there's no use trying to deny that I did have a diet Pepsi with my pulled pork platter at the State Fair over the weekend.
It was a conscious decision to drink that Pepsi, in that I'd already decided a few weeks ago that one of these days I was going to have a diet soda, just one, to see if it tasted as good as it used to back when I was chain-sipping the stuff all day, every day.
So when the nice lady who was slinging the pulled pork asked me, "Somethin' to drink with that, darlin'?" I spontaneously decided to have my experimental diet cola right then.
Still, I wouldn't have chosen that moment to have my diet cola if there had been the available option of some unsweetened ice tea or sparkling water.
But it was the State Fair. All there was to drink was soda and a few other varieties of hyper-sweetened drink.
And, of course, bottled water. There's always bottled water.
But alas, I'm sorry to say that after three months of trying I still haven't learned to like the taste of water. Or rather, the lack of taste of it. For me the blandness of water still seems, when I drink it with food, to drain the food of its taste.
I don't know how many aquaphobes there are kicking around out there, but I feel like my continuing dislike of water is probably strange enough.
But here's what makes it even more strange: when I was growing up all we ever drank at home was water. All we ever drank anywhere was water.
We drank only water because my father, an endocrinologist and researcher who was much ahead of his time, considered whole milk to be too full of fat and calories to be consumed as a drink to wash down a meal that already contained a sufficient caloric content. He said water was better for us with meals, so we drank water. Which was fine by me because I hated milk, unless there was a bowl of cereal under it and a teaspoon of sugar on top of it. (Though since I've discovered almond milk I now no longer have to use milk even to keep my cereal company).
Anyway, I remember the time when I was about 12 that I went with my friend Michelle (see February 12, 2014 post) to visit her grandparents and stay for dinner. It turned out that there wasn't enough milk to go around for all the children so I, of course, said that I didn't care for any milk anyway, that I'd rather have water. In fact, we'd been outside playing and I was hot and thirsty and really wanted a glass of water. But Michelle's family wouldn't hear of it. They insisted that, since I was the guest, Michelle give me her glass of milk and she drink the water. Which she graciously did. So I forced down the milk and longed for the water while Michelle forced down the water and longed for the milk. So goes life sometimes, right?
In any case I grew up drinking water with my meals and subsequently my own children drank water with their meals. We all drank water in my household until the day I got a taste of caffeine-free diet cola. Then it was water for everyone else, soda for Mom. All day long.
But now, except for my little foray at the State Fair, I've been soda-free for three months.
I've resisted all summer, even last month at my niece's wedding , even back in June at all the high school graduation parties where there were long tables of party food and cake and coolers full of diet soda the way I love it best, ice-cold from being buried in ice.
And I intend to stay soda-free for as long as I can, getting by on sparkling water, weak iced tea, and, when backed into the corner, plain old healthy H2O. Preferably from the sink. With ice cubes.
So after three months of abstinence how did my experimental diet Pepsi taste with that pulled pork sandwich, french fries and corn on the cob?
It tasted so good I could've cried. 8)