In my postfat life, there's one sound that resonates more than any other: The crack of an egg, followed by the scrabble of our ginormous dog Buddy stirring from slumber.
The kids joke that my boiled egg white sandwich is boring with a capital “B.” But to me, the “B” stands for blank slate: A low-calorie, high-protein filling that, with a little imagination, can impersonate virtually any food I want it to.
This is the sandwich that stars in my personal highlight reels of dietary discipline. Or it did, anyway. Without the presence of our Newfoundland-Great Pyrenees yolk disposer, lately I've been unable to bring myself to boil an egg, much less peel one.
First, a confession: I'm not exactly an animal lover. I tend to tolerate pets rather than cuddle them. Still, even I was smitten by this gentle giant who, when we first brought him home a few years ago, generously allowed all four kids to pile on him at once like an oversized bean bag chair.
Buddy and I bonded over a few thousand boiled eggs in the last 3 1/2 years. After tossing him the yolk — which he'd often snatch in midair — I'd whip up a BEW2HG, as it's recorded in my food log. (The 2HG stands for two slices of Healthy Goodness bread, at 35 calories each.)
Some memorable variations:
•The faux bologna sandwich. Reading Stephen King's “Duma Key” gave me a powerful craving for this relic from my childhood, but as an adult, I didn't like the idea of eating a fabricated flesh product. The chewy, rubbery BEW, hidden from view by the bread and topped with a dollop of light mayo, provided just enough similarity to this tactile childhood memory to satisfy the craving and let me get on with my life.
•Coated in salsa, topped with lettuce and folded into a single slice of Healthy Goodness bread, my BEWHG (for only one slice of bread) transforms itself into a taco.
•Pour Buffalo Wild Wing Sauce into a BEW's empty yolk “crater.” Place on a slice of toast and serve open-faced, so you can admire the pool of incendiary lava inside your tiny “volcano.”
“Now that's something you can't do with an ordinary slab of chicken!” I wrote triumphantly in my food log the day I came up with that one back in 2011.
Since then, Buddy started to slim down, too. He was getting old, losing muscle mass.
Meanwhile, I grew less enchanted with my BEW2HGs. Eventually I cut back to just BEWs.
I hate to say it, but I was getting bored — even a bit irritated — by the Buddy boiled egg ritual.
Then one morning last month, Buddy wouldn't get up. He didn't want to go out. Didn't want breakfast. He finally stirred when I cracked an egg for him, but it took a mighty effort.
Bob and Ben hoisted him into the car for a trip to the vet, who reported that Buddy was bleeding internally from some previously undetected tumors. He was too sick to come home. We made plans for a final goodbye the next morning before having him put to sleep, but he didn't make it through the night.
We've all been missing Buddy. Two full weeks went by before I could bring myself to crack another boiled egg. What was I going to do with the yolk?
I'm not sure what role boiled egg whites will play in my diet from here on out. As I come up on three years of weight-loss maintenance, I'm far less rigid in my routine, with a better idea of how to relax around food.
But I do know that I'll keep the BEW2HG in my dietary toolbox. Maybe I'll add an extra “B,” in memory of Buddy.