Chef Shaunna

Burnett, Shaunna

Many of us have some sort of ominous New Year’s resolution lurking in the backs of our minds, and some of us have failed too often in the past to continue the ritual. I hypothesize that, by driving ourselves crazy over our resolutions, we often do exactly the opposite of what we resolved to do. Dieting is my example: when we concentrate on every morsel we put in our bodies, by the time we snap and have a cookie, we find ourselves shoveling vittles down our throats like there’s no tomorrow waiting to confront us. That single failure turns into a pattern for the rest of the year.
I advocate a gentler approach – that we free ourselves of guilt. If we stop agonizing over every small failure and triumph, and shift our focus from our personal torment to other activities, we won’t be obsessive enough to engage in such extreme actions, which ultimately lead to failure.
In this vein, I am sharing with you a tale of culinary whimsy entirely free from shame and guilt in order to kick-start a happier relationship with anything that haunts your resolve – especially if you have a problematic relationship with food:
I will never forget that walk to the showers when I was sexier than I may have ever been, sauntering with my Betty Page towel wrapped around my well-fed curves to shower off the Nutella smearing my body.
I’m not sure how certain friends and I went from perching on my bunk bed and playing
“Mario Party” to putting tubs of Nutella in the microwave on 70 percent power, but we melted those plastic carcinogens into our Nutella and never once looked back.
We kept opening the microwave to stir the cocoa-hazelnut butter, waiting until we thought it had reached just the right consistency (it should glisten, in a more liquid state). Probably a little too soon, because we were too excited and impatient, we drizzled the Nutella over our already-popped bag of kettle corn and waited for this sticky anointment. I used my finger to stir the popcorn and more evenly distribute the Nutella among the kernels. If you recreate this and you’re not as close with the people sharing this with you as I was, try using utensils for this job.
The entire bowl was devoured quickly, the sugar went straight to our heads, and the sad, pasty Nutella remnants coating the sides of their sagging plastic tubs turned into a holy tincture and while we stuffed our faces, we anointed each other as gracefully as we did the popcorn.
This is a stressful place academically
and this is a stressful time of the year. Take a moment alone or with people you love and literally or symbolically anoint yourselves with something you love to hate and hate to love. Embrace it, enjoy it, and forget about it.

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