Penkava: Confessions of a confirmed Carbivore

Michael Penkava
Michael Penkava

I admit it: I’m in a committed relationship with carbohydrates. They are my starchy soulmates.

We have so much in common. They taste good, and I like to eat. They gather in my waistline, and I give them plenty of space. They give me energy, and I use the energy to chew and swallow. It’s a match made in salivary heaven.

Yep, if loving carbs is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

I think that if carbs were analyzed, you would find that they are made of smiles, contentment and happiness. I know that because when they are digested, they break down into sugar, spice and everything nice.

I believe in equal rights for all foods. We should not be intolerant of lactose. Neither should we be overly sensitive to gluten. Fats should not be reduced, and sugars should not be limited. Even fast food, with its precarious lifestyle, should not be defined by its reckless peptic offerings.

My love affair with carbs began long, long ago as a child. I started each day with a delicious combination of Frosted Flakes, Eggo Waffles, French toast sticks and a Pop-Tart.

My favorite lunch was a fried Oscar Meyer bologna sandwich on Wonder Bread and a bowlful of New Era barbecue potato chips. With a big glass of Kayo chocolate-flavored drink.

Supper was anything cooked in Crisco. Snacks ranged from slabs of Velveeta cheese to Charleston Chews to Cheetos. Thus, the major food groups of my early life were monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

However, when I got married, things changed. I didn’t have my mother, however lenient she was, to limit my carb intake, and I convinced my new wife that love means never having to say stop eating.

I remember the first pie she made. It was blueberry. As it sat cooling on the stove top, I could not wait to dig in.

“Honey, is it ready to eat yet?”

“No, Michael, it still needs to cool down.”

“But I like it hot.”

“You’ll like it better if it doesn’t burn your mouth and you can’t taste it because your tongue is turned into a piece of charcoal.”

Geesh, for a new wife, she sure knows how to scare you with hot food metaphors.

Finally, the pie was ready. She called me into the kitchen, cut a piece, placed it onto a plate and proceeded to eat it.

“Hey, what about me?” I cried in protest for not getting the first piece.

“You? Well, Michael, you get all the rest. Enjoy!”

What? If this wasn’t the carb equivalent of true love, I don’t know what was.

Now, almost 50 years later, things have really changed. Sure, my wife still loves me. But evidently her definition for how to show it is drastically different. It’s now, “Love means never having to say you can eat it all.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m still in love with carbs, but I love my wife more. If she were a carb, she’d be a heap of French fries with a side of deep-dish pizza and pasta, followed by a stack of pancakes and washed down with a Twinkie smoothie.

So, honey, I guess I’m just a hopeless carbivore romantic, my little whip-creamed apple dumpling with a cherry on top.

• Michael Penkava taught a bunch of kids and wrote a bunch of stuff. As a love-struck carbivore, his idea of cuddling is lying in bed with a loaf of bread. He can be reached at

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