Lost magic, perhaps

Last night, I asked Chuan what he'd like to eat more of (namely, what we should cook together), now that he and I have both finished our final exams, and he'll have loads more time this summer to dedicate to cooking, if he should choose.

We came up with a list together, mostly inspired by him. These days, I am not so interested in food as I once was; it's harder for me to say definitively "I want this" or "I want to make that." I take this as a good sign, as part of this long recovery from my eating disorder: I don't take the same care to put together meals like I did even a year ago. I'm not sure when the magic went out of food, but I think by giving food my full attention for these last few years, it stopped feeling so special or so forbidden. That's my pet theory for the day: indulge your obsession a little, give it the space it demands, and it just might stop being so alluring after a while. (My cognitive behavioral professor would probably call this an "exposure technique".)

So -- food is not calling my name as persistently or forcefully as it used to. And I'm finding that it's pleasant, for a change, to have a partner who is willing to put together a menu and has strong preferences for certain foods. Last week he invented an excellent curried chicken stew, browning chicken legs in a bit of oil and onions before simmering them with green beans, curry, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of cream. The man is a bit of a genius in the kitchen when he puts his mind to it -- once he realized that day that he couldn't make a Chinese stir-fry with chicken legs, something else had to come out of the pot. And now we're both still thinking about how tender and fragrant that chicken meat was.

Looking forwards, we decided that we want to make salade nicoise, shepherd's pie and apple pie, beef stew and meatloaf, cornbread, eggplant moussaka and gazpacho. These are all comfort foods, in one place or another, and I find it striking that now, when winter is past, we still crave the warm, meaty dishes of winter. There has not been enough ease in our lives in these last few months; perhaps part of us feels stuck back in January, yearning to be taken care of in the darkest days of the year. And so I'll buy a rolling pin and learn how to make pastry dough; we'll put together giant vats of stewed beef to keep us going for a few days; and I'll search for the ripest tomatoes of mid-summer to make a gazpacho to remind me of Barcelona.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I think you have it exactly right -- you indulged an obsession for a bit and it's not as appealing anymore. For me, true recovery would be appreciating food, but not having so much energy about it. Maybe that's what you're experiencing. It seems you still ENJOY food (and how wonderful that you have a man who enjoys it too!), but you don't have as much energy about it. I am slightly envious that you guys cook together. My husband won't go near a pan.