I can quit whenever I want

I love Lorraine, and my wife knows all about it, and I don’t care. Every time I see Lorraine, my heart skips a beat.

Yes, passion can kill. You fall in love and you lose your mind. You stop seeing the world clearly. You start taking chances. You develop improper habits. You can wind up wrapping your Range Rover around a tree on Old Plains Road, and the Ipswich Historical Association will put you in jail for defacing a historical artifact.

But of course, most of us never fall prey to the curse of extreme passion. We’re New Englanders. We’re solid citizens. When I moved to Ipswich, I understood this protocol. When I moved into my two-century-old Ipswich home, I accepted the unspoken requirement: You’re a Puritan now. Don’t screw up. You’ll lose the respect of your fellow New Englanders. And that’s going to be awful for you.

Still, the way I feel about Lorraine, I’m willing to take that risk … because the quiche at the Ipswich Inn is just that good.

Some years ago — long before we bid a sad and abrupt farewell to the late great Inn proprietor Ray Morley this past October — there was a brouhaha about the expansion of his dining room. At the time, I thought it was about zoning, and traffic, and neighbors’ lives being ruined by the noisy clink-clink-clink of diners’ forks on their plates.

No. All of this was distraction. Diversion from the real issue. I understand this now. It was about the quiche. Not just any quiche. Quiche Lorraine — and what it can do to an unsuspecting person like me.

Quiche Lorraine is technically a “tart,” an open pastry case filled with a magical custard concoction of thick cream, eggs, and bacon. (The Inn adds or substitutes other wondrous proteins.) In recent decades, American chefs have made the mélange even more devastating by adding cheese. I can only say, “OMG.”

Technically, quiche Lorraine can be served cold — but at the Ipswich Inn, the servers rush it from the kitchen while it’s still warm.

Most Friday mornings when I visit the Inn’s dining room, there’s a “specials” board on display, and I arrive preoccupied, heart thumping, hoping to see “quiche Lorraine” there. When it’s not, I have to settle for some fabulous benedict or another, or one of their exotic omelets. All good, but…


It’s become sort of a minor religion, and not just for me. My usual breakfast companions now join me in praying that quiche Lorraine will be on the menu, because they know if I go Lorraineless, I’m going to be jittery and irritable. My speech slurs and I say things I’ll regret. The quality of my friends’ breakfast experience is grossly diminished if I have to settle for a mere “scrambled and sausage.”

But let me assure you, I’m not simply accepting my obsession and descending into a state of hopeless desperation. I realize that the Ipswich Inn is a venerable North Shore institution, and it would be unseemly to disrupt the homey ambience of the dining room with an emergency intervention — paramedics rushing in to keep “that quiche Lorraine guy” from croaking just because there’s no quiche Lorraine on the specials board.

So I’m working on it. There’s a 12-step program for this, and I’m making my way through it. It’s not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. But I’m on the journey.

Step 1: I’ve admitted I’m powerless over quiche Lorraine. 

Step 2: I understand that a power greater than quiche Lorraine could restore me to sanity.

I’m still working on Step 3: turning my will and my life over to the care of God. When I pray, it feels like God just says, “I know. I love that stuff too.”

Doug Brendel is grateful to live on outer Linebrook Road, only 5.3 miles from the Ipswich Inn, so when the quiche Lorraine cravings become too much, he can get there in 12 minutes. Unless there’s a train at the Lord’s Square crossing. In which case, ignore the screaming. Follow Doug’s recovery journey by clicking “Follow” here at Outsidah.com.

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