I was minding my own business when a rotund, jolly-faced man, who was closely watching me as I scrutinized the eggplants, suddenly struck up a conversation.
"Ahhh, eggplants. I used to make the best eggplant concoction ever," he sighed. "You see, I was a chef in my younger days. Now I have a number of conditions that restrict my diet."
"Don't we all," I responded.
He then went on to tell me his very favorite ethnic signature dishes, pronouncing each recipe name perfectly, whether French, Italian, Greek or Mexican. With passion and longing in his voice and facial expression, he described in minute detail how to prepare the most incredible lasagna with ground veal.
"We really shouldn't be talking like this," I said, "I'm on a diet also, and it's no use reminiscing about dishes we no longer should eat."
'Well, we can cheat 20 percent of the time and still be okay," the retired chef smiled. I unobtrusively glanced at his waistline and had my doubts.
Finally extricating myself from this conversation, I selected two extra large eggplants and, by the time I got to the checkout line, I had picked up a least 11 additional items that weren't on my original list.
By gum, I reasoned, if I'm going to cheat 20 percent of the time, I'm going to do it in style!