The first thing you feel upon discovering you’ve got a bean on the way is generally not hunger (more like chronic fatigue syndrome), but as the weeks go by and the nausea (hopefully) subsides, you’ll find yourself absolutely, positively, ravenous. It’s different for everyone (pickles? quail’s eggs? top soil?), but the source of my cravings seem to have hatched from a place of “can I stomach that without dry heaves” and then apparently evolved into what, to the uneducated, may appear to be a nonsensical list of random foodstuffs.
I’m no baby expert (beyond my current ability to grow one), but I do know food, so here’s my attempt to make a bit of sense of what I want to eat and where I (and you!) can procure it. At the very least, this list may prove helpful if you’ve found yourself inexplicably in a pregnant woman’s bad books – trust me, at this stage, the right food heals all wounds.
Kensington’s Grilled Cheese: As attested to in some of my previous posts on this fair site, I have a thing for cheese. With most of the smellier blues and goopier cow and goat creamies off the table (I shake my fist in your general direction, listeriosis!) and in keeping with the theme of catching-up on childhood culinary faves (see PB&C reference below), I have opened my arms and ever growing appetite to the grilled cheese sandwich. While I’ve been recently known to swoon over some home-fried Wonderbread loaded with a double-stack of Kraft Singles, it’s probably not realistic to assume my husband is willing to accompany me to work and the like, whipping me up a melty on cue. So when my hunger rage follows me on the road and nothing else will do (which is generally how this whole craving thing works), The Grilled Cheese in Kensington is just the ticket. The Motzy, stuffed to the crusts with squishy fresh mozzarella, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula and a hint of sweet balsamic, is perfect for when you’re wanting to take the standard to the next level, and the Turk 2000 with fresh tomato, red onion, turkey and, of course, the expected cheese (I also strongly recommend adding bacon) settles gastro-related grumps tout suite. Don’t fret, pregnant purists, they also make The Classic (straight up 5 year old cheddar) and hell, with a pickle on the side, you can hit the spot on two cravings with one meal – amazing!
Wanda’s Pie in the Sky: There aren’t many times when you’ll find yourself texting your baby daddy that you need crumpets, but pregnancy is definitely one of them. Thank god there are no nut allergies in my family, for I’ve rediscovered peanut butter with the crazed fervour reserved for a 5 year old. I want that stuff, preferably melted, on everything (crumpets are particularly handy, with all those little PB catching holes). Even better, rumour has it that women who gain the majority of their pregnancy weight from good fats, like the nut-based variety, tend to lose it post-pregs with the greatest of ease. That being said, the only thing that ups the ante on peanut butter is chocolate. The good folk at President’s Choice must have gotten some sort of bulletin about my belly’s new occupant because they have stacked their stores with all manner of wondrous crave-fulfilling delights – Loads of Chocolatey Peanut Butter Treats ice cream and S’mores Kits (just add PC Mini Peanut Butter Melts) for starters. Granted there are days when separate peanut butter and chocolate courses make for a more delightful meal, in which case my PB-free choco needs are best served by the realm of baked goods – think Wanda’s Pie in the Sky chocolate almond kisses, Nadège‘s macarons and Clafouti‘s pain au chocolate. Happy, buttery sighs.
Fresh on Crawford: Strawberries, raspberries, cherries, green beans, carrots, celery, avocados and…tofu. Why tofu? No clue. But I want it a lot right now, and with my current aversions to the simple salad (when did it get so slimy?) and cooked veg (limp and gag inducing) the wraps at Fresh have been my multiple birds one stone fix since getting knocked up. Tofu is one of those should you shouldn’t you foods when pregs, mostly due to its phytoestrogen content. At the end of the day, I’m already producing enough estrogen to take out a Vegas bachelorette party, so this is not high up on my worry list, not to mention that tofu is chockers full of protein and calcium. Fresh-wise, I recommend the Holiday Wrap; with its shot of folic-friendly avocado and a slew of other crunchy veg you’ll feel full and like you did the right thing by your bean.
The Healthy Butcher: There are those that subscribe to the theory that while pregnant a woman’s body will most crave the things which are nutritionally necessary for her growing bean. I can see this being the case with let’s say fruit (I’ll eat myself into a berry coma if you let me), but how do you explain hotdogs (which are (a) generally nasty and (b) questionable in terms of pre-natal consumption safety)? Thankfully local and organic is butchery’s new black! The Healthy Butcher on Queen West makes (real!) hotdogs out of both organic beef and chicken, you can buy them by the link (handy when your craving is a one shot deal) and the best bit –they taste good. If you don’t feel like grilling your own, 416 Snack Bar, just a shuffling waddle around the corner, makes a corndog that is nothing to shake a stick at. Made in-house from smoky paprika’d beef short rib and pork back fat, encased in lamb and encrusted with cornmeal, these little fellows seal the deal on never succumbing to street meat again (pregnant, drunkenly ravenous or otherwise).
And now, in the spirit of pushing my maternity jeans to the limits of bump-dom, I really need a snack (small meal #6 of the day).
416 Snack Bar, 181 Bathurst St
The Healthy Butcher, 565 Queen St. West
Fresh, 894 Queen Street West
Nadège, 780 Queen St W
Clafouti, 915 Queen St W
Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, 287 Augusta Ave
The Grilled Cheese, 66 1/2 Nassau St
~ Julie Reitsma