To the outside world, Ira has it all: a busy, high-flying law career, a doting boyfriend, and a beautiful house in the city. But after just one poutine bite from Goodfood, her whole life has been called into question. Suddenly, she has no idea who she is. Will Ira commit to a new life of Goodfood, or will she resist temptation to keep things the way they are? Find out in Love at First Bite.
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Ira Williams hastily buttered her toast and waved at David. “Bye honey, I’ll be back late, I’ll text you!” She screamed, shutting the door behind her.
It was six in the morning on a crisp fall day, and a light pink hue had formed in the sky like a strip of bacon on a dark pan. Ira was getting briefed on a big case today and didn’t have time to get groceries, so as usual, she hadn’t brought lunch. She was jealous of her coworkers and their reusable containers filled with delicious Goodfood meals like boeuf bourguignon and maple glazed chicken, but for her, eating was simply a means to an end. A way to stay alive and keep going so she could crack that next case.
Occasionally, she had visions of moving to the countryside, wearing nothing but a satin slip at four in the afternoon on a weekday, making seared filet mignons with a demi-glacé mushroom sauce and sprinkling fresh thyme as the roasted potatoes sizzled on high heat. But this vision was always interrupted by a mile-long to-do list. At the very top of the list was a dream she’d been chasing since she was a teenager: to make partner at a firm. Nothing was going to get in the way of this.
Ira’s thoughts were interrupted by the smell of butter wafting in the air. She turned around and saw a tall, bearded man on the train with grey hair on his temples. He was biting into a luscious citrus cake, blissfully unaware of his surroundings. She could almost taste the sour cream and poppyseed from where she was sitting. She caught some drool dropping on her button-down shirt and quickly wiped it off, embarrassed. The man bit into the cake with gusto, treating every slice like it was his last. She wasn’t attracted to him, but even so, she wanted to lick the lemon zest from his mouth. He dusted his chin with a napkin, looked over at Ira, and smiled.
“You know, I got it on Goodfood, with a promo code. You might want to get your own”, he teased. She nodded, her body suddenly on fire like flaming Saganaki. A switch had been turned on, a primal urge had started to set in. How did cake for breakfast suddenly seem so enticing? She’d seen people eat before and it had done nothing for her, so why did this feel different? She pushed her thoughts away, determined to focus on the long, hard day ahead of her.
As soon as Ira reached the lobby, she was greeted by the smell of Goodfood’s organic Bogotá Coffee. The chocolate overtones and hint of red berries wafted in the air, making her heart ping. She could feel the beans take her to new heights, unlocking all the pleasure centres in her body. She threw her bad, store-bought coffee with disgust and let the smell of the better coffee guide her to her cubicle. She saw her co-worker, Manuel, sniff the decadent coffee blissfully, and gently, slowly, savour each sip.
“Where did you get that?” Ira asked, knowing full well what the answer was going to be.
“Goodfood. It tastes just like the coffee back home. You should get some, there’s a promo code.”
“So I’ve heard.” Ira said, looking at the large stack of files on her desk, and sighing. She had work to do, briefs to conquer, and bosses to impress. She couldn’t let delicious food get in the way of her bright future. At least, not for now.
Hours later, after successfully negotiating a new contract for her client, Ira stretched at her desk and took a walk around the office. It was almost lunchtime and she had no idea what to eat. Neither her nor David cooked, and sometimes she wondered if the secret to a sizzling hot marriage was perhaps a sizzling hot meal.
She decided to walk by the small kitchen at the other end of the office, and spotted Nala taking a tray out of the oven. Ira’s heart suddenly started racing. There was something about the aroma that was familiar, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She walked towards the tray like she was in a trance.
“Looks good, right? They’re poutine bites from Goodfood.”
“Poutine bites? Like poutine, but in finger food form?”
“Yup. Truthfully, I’m a little bit addicted to them. Not in a literal medical sense, but you know. I use this secret kitchen just so the guys don’t come for my food. But you’re special…so I’ll spare one bite.” Nala moved the tray closer to Ira.
“Really? Are you sure?”
“Absolutely. Try them. They’re so good, and they only take 7 minutes to heat up.”
Ira gazed longingly at the tray. These poutine bites were no ordinary snack or meal. The crunchy golden potato crust was engulfed in a stretchy, cheesy, saucy middle, sending Ira into a frenzy. She’d never felt her heart beat so fast, not even when she met David or when she won her biggest case. There was something about this unassuming delicacy. She had to have it now.
Ira reached out for a poutine bite and gingerly put it in her mouth. At first, she was slow, tender, deliberate. But soon, she was devouring it like it was the last piece of food on earth. Her pupils dilated and she let out a slow, intense ‘hmmmmmmmm’. Her grip on the kitchen counter tightened and her pulse quickened, a wave of dopamine crashing into her like a tsunami. It was as if time stood still, and all her senses were on overdrive. The smell of cheese curds, the texture of the crispy potato as it melted on her tongue, the swirl of the creamy sauce, it was the first time she’d ever felt this way. Turns out, her taste buds had been deprived. Living off grocery store salads and sad sandwiches for far too long. They’d been shackled simply by her reluctance to change. She always hated the arduous process of grocery shopping—carrying the bags, waiting in line, trying to find the right aisle…it sucked all the joy out of food, so she’d stopped caring and started settling on takeout fairly early on in her career. But now, she realized she could finally have it all. The intense, thrilling pleasure of decadent food made with premium ingredients, right at her doorstep in under 30 minutes.
“It doesn’t have to be hard… or complicated even. Goodfood makes it easy. No chopping or slicing, and quick, premium grocery delivery.” Nala said, pulling the tray back towards her as a way of saying ‘ok, you’re done now. Stay away’. Ira stood back, her cheeks flushed, beads of sweat forming on her forehead.
“Thank you. You’ve changed my life.”
That night, Ira came home to dumplings that David had bought from the nearest grocery store. He’d pan fried them and added a little bowl of soy sauce and vinegar on the side. It was something they did every Tuesday night, but tonight, she wasn’t in the mood. She’d been browsing the Goodfood frozen section, and they had classic Chinese-style dumplings with pork, cabbage, and aromatic chives. They looked juicier, thicker, more authentic, and more flavourful. That’s what Ira needed now. She quietly ate the first few dumplings and then put her chopsticks away.
“What’s wrong, hun? Everything okay?” David asked gently.
“I’m not loving these dumplings anymore. I want to try Goodfood. There’s a promo code, you know.” David raised his eyebrows, putting away his chopsticks.
“Where’s this coming from? We have these dumplings every Tuesday.”
“These store-bought dumplings are perfectly fine. But I need more. I deserve more. Something better, more exciting.”
David studied Ira’s expression and nodded quietly.
“Ok, I understand. Over the weekend we’ll place an order.” He smiled, stretched his arm out, and gave her hand a squeeze. Ira smiled back, looking over at the subpar dumpling he’d dunked in soy sauce to mask the blandness. She wasn’t sure she could wait until the weekend. She needed Goodfood inside her, right now. Or at least in the next 30 minutes.
Ira and David watched a documentary about climate change and crawled into bed. Impulsively, she turned to David and kissed him hungrily, pulling his T-shirt over his head. But the more Ira tried to stay in the moment, the more she was being taken out of it. Something about this wasn’t working for her anymore. She realized she wasn’t hungry for this, she was hungry for something else. Finally, she pulled her mouth away from his and looked into his eyes.
“I’m sorry honey, I think I’m just tired.”
“Anything I can do?” He asked. She shook her head. He nodded understandingly and kissed her forehead before rolling over to the other side.
Once the lights were off, Ira thought she’d automatically fall asleep, but she got a second wind. What was it about darkness that made her mind wander? And wander it did, to thoughts of oozing cheese, crispy potatoes, and that creamy, creamy sauce. There was a sudden yearning, a craving so deep, she thought she was going to scream. Before she realized what was happening, she was stepping out of the room, turning the lights on, and opening her laptop with urgency. She went on incognito mode and typed the words makegoodfood.ca with excitement and conviction. Her heart leapt with joy when she saw that those poutine bites were still available. It was a shame she hadn’t placed her order a couple of hours earlier, when it was guaranteed to reach in under 30 minutes. Now it was the wee hours of the night, so it would arrive the next morning. Could she control herself until then? She wasn’t sure. Until now, the world thought she had it all: a doting boyfriend, a high-flying career, and a beautiful house in the city. But it was hard to deny that something had been missing from her life. She’d lost her joie de vivre and resigned to a life of monotony. Now she was getting her mojo back. It was as if something awakened inside her, raring to go. And it was all thanks to that one bite.
Ira replayed the moment in her head, her tongue wrapped around the poutine bite, the explosion of flavour, pleasure radiating across her body. Her fingers were shaking and her breath was ragged. It was as if she’d finally gotten in touch with her body after months of abandoning it. She browsed the website, stumbling on various meals that made her gasp. Greek-style lamb shanks—a meaty mirepoix topped with a dollop of tzatziki. Fish tacos—crispy, breaded fillets stuffed into flour tortillas with a drizzle of smoky chipotle
sauce and fire-roasted tomato salsa. Oh, and the chocolate truffle ganache dessert—a rich, silky indulgence that made her wild. If gluttony was a sin, why did it feel so right?
Ira’s eyes started to droop, but she fought it. She could not and would not sleep until her cart was full. Her fingers reached for the touchpad, quivering as she scrolled past the bacon wrapped scallops. Each succulent, sustainably fished scallop had a slice of bacon holding it in a tight embrace. Add to cart. Then, she went for soft, pillowy bagels studded with blueberries, wild mushroom mini tarts for that sweet, sweet umami; beef tartare to tame her carnivorous urges, and of course, the snack that started it all: poutine bites. She knew deep down that this wasn’t a phase. It wasn’t just some temporary infatuation that would fade the next morning. It was the precipice of something amazing. And in the end, it would all be worth it.
Bursting with desire and ready to explode, she placed her order and smiled. She thought about all the times she’d bought pre-mixed salad from the grocery store, or spread generic store brand mayo and a can of tuna on plain white bread, and called it a meal. She shuddered. No more, absolutely not. It wouldn’t happen again. There was nothing wrong with that life, but it wasn’t for her. She’d evolved and opened her mind to a whole new world of gastronomical possibilities.
The next morning after tossing and turning most of the night from excitement, Ira ran towards her front door as soon as her doorbell rang. It had arrived, right on time. She was wearing a white see-through nightdress, but she didn’t care. Only one thing and one thing alone was on her mind: those irresistible poutine bites. The sight of the Goodfood truck rounding the corner was setting her on edge. The minute she got her box, she thanked the guy quickly and rushed inside.
She searched frantically for a pair of scissors, hot, hungry, and eager. Kicking her slippers off, she kneeled down and tore into the box, panting and sweating as she got closer to what she wanted. The contents peeked from inside the box, sending shivers down her spine. She dropped the scissors to the floor and yanked the boxes out of the carton, clawing her way through the packaging. It was only going to take 7 minutes to heat up, but she still had to wait for the oven to preheat. She could stick it in the microwave, but she knew it wouldn’t be the same. She had to slow down and give it the time it needed. If she rushed it, it wouldn’t be as good.
So she waited for the oven to preheat, counting the minutes until go time. When the sound went off, Ira felt an immediate spark, a carnal instinct taking over as she pushed the tray deeper into the oven. She felt the warmth from the oven on her face, and suddenly, her whole body felt like it was melting. She shut the oven door and waited 7 minutes to the dot.
Finally, there they were, ready for the taking. Ira didn’t waste any time. She cupped a poutine bite, blew on it to cool it down, and thrust it in her mouth. This was a foreign feeling for her—the desperation, the intensity, her emotions so out of control. She was usually so tempered and restrained, but it felt so good to just let loose. She reached for a second one, this bite tasting even better than the last. It was visceral, an all-consuming, full-body reaction, and she was loving every minute of it. Six bites later, she wiped her mouth, moaned with satisfaction, and fell onto the couch. Her legs were jelly and her knees were weak. She’d need a few moments to compose herself before she got ready for work. Just as she was chugging a glass of water to wash it all down, David walked into the living room with a puzzled look on his face.
“In all the years we’ve been together, I’ve never seen you not dressed at this time. You don’t even have the newspaper in your hand.”
“I’ve changed. The news will make its way to me.”
Work was a blur. The whole day, she couldn’t stop thinking about what she was going to eat for dinner. Her thoughts were interrupted by a ping, a text from David saying he was having dinner with his colleagues. She felt a wave of relief because it meant more food for her. Now was her chance to take the plunge. She placed an order for groceries to arrive that evening. She dreamt of Cheese-Stuffed Tortellini, because heaven is loaded with carbs. She had to have that now. She could taste the three cheeses swirl in her mouth with the tender tortellini, and her fingers twitched in anticipation.
“Ah, you finally bit the bullet and got Goodfood.” Nala said, adjusting the headband that covered her thick curls.
“Yeah. And you know what? I love it. Those poutine bites. Holy moly, I’m…”
“Obsessed”, they both said at the same time. Nala laughed, nodding.
Waiting for the day to be over was the hardest part. In just the span of 24 hours, Ira had gone from self-proclaimed workaholic to someone who looked forward to coming home and cooking dinner. Who was she? What had changed? Was this a sudden transformation, or a slow burn that had grown over time, finally bubbling to the surface? She didn’t know, but she didn’t care. She loved the new her, and she was going to own it.
Finally, after piles of paperwork, client briefings and team debriefings, the day was done. She arrived home, and lo and behold the groceries were already at her doorstep, kept fresh with several packs of ice. “Yesss!!” she muttered, bringing the box inside the house, ready to play. She held the fresh tortellini above her head like a trophy. Layer upon layer, she added flavour, boiling, stirring, waiting for the dish to form. After a few minutes, the delightful mixture of cheeses drifted in the air, sending a wave of electricity pulsing through her body. The food was bubbling, and so was she. Mellow ricotta, sharp Romano, and salty Parmesan—a mix of all her personalities. She reached for the Napoletana Pasta Sauce and poured it all over the tortellini with abandon.
When everything finally came together, she stood back and marvelled at her masterpiece, licking her fingers slowly and seductively to take in all the flavour. As one of the fingers was halfway in her mouth, she stopped for a second and took it out. She realized that this meal called for fine China. The ones she never used, because no one important ever came over. Now, that would all change. This was the first intentional meal she’d had in ages; it had to be commemorated. She imagined having a dinner party, passing around a tray of hors d’oeuvres before revealing a big spread of meats and side dishes. This new dream made her smile.
As she started transferring the food to her plate, she wondered if she should leave some for David.
“You know what? This one’s just for me.” She said to herself, shoving a spoonful of tortellini in her mouth. She smiled blissfully, letting her palate take her on an all-inclusive vacation of flavour, texture, and smoothness. She’d discovered a new dream, a new life purpose, and nothing or no one was going to take that away from her.
THE TEMPTATION OF FAST GROCERIES