Food, glorious food

There’s an old saying Washington, DC: you don’t want to see the sausage being made.

Let me tell you: you don’t want to see the sausage being un-made either. Squeezing the meat out of the casing is every bit as gross as you can imagine. Yet, when all the ingredients come together in the pan, the process yields—like a good piece of legislation—a thing of beauty. Every special interest or ingredient is happy. Ecco risotto con salsiccia.

For those who know me, the fact that I am cooking at all is miraculous enough. With few exceptions, the kitchen has been closed since my son left for college over ten years ago. Of course, I cooked for him when he came home or when I entertained, but apart from that, my dinners were lean and uninspired. Also there was lots of takeout.

What changed?

This past December, I visited a friend in Sarasota. And as I waited in line to board the plane, I saw something that froze my marrow. You know how the elderly and persons with handicaps are allowed to board first? Well, there were about eight women, bent and pale, sour and sad, sitting in wheelchairs waiting in line to get on the plane. These were not airport wheelchairs either. These belonged to the women.

And I freaked out. I thought to myself: This could be you, this is your future. You can’t always count on good luck and good genes. You’ve got to eat better and take better care of yourself.

And that was hard to swallow.

Yes, for a whole bunch of reasons (download Fat Girl, if you haven’t already), I have a “thing” about food. About appetite. I have watched everything I’ve ever put in my mouth for as long as I can remember. I work out. I eat good things. But I denied my hunger. I chose not think about food. I rarely cooked and my refrigerator was not only pristine but virtually empty.

This is nuts, omega-3 infused walnut, nuts.

But those old ladies scared me to death. And it wasn’t their wheelchairs so much as their affect. How much time do I have? I thought, I can’t live like that.

So after Florida, I started to cook. I started with things I liked to eat and prepare. Chinese food. Risotto. Roast chicken à la provençale. I tried Blue Apron, which I think is great, but there’s just too way much food for one person. I can only do/eat so much.

And, you know what? It’s been fun. I had forgotten how much fun it could be. I eat only what appeals, as much or as little as I want, and cooking only a few nights a week, on my schedule (not because it’s expected) is very satisfying. D'uh!

And Maxxie, my dachshund, likes being a taster.

I’m in control. I feel more energetic. I enjoy the creative challenge. More importantly I feel that I am honoring my body and my appetites, satisfying them, and acknowledging, “Yes, you are important. Let’s pay attention to what you need. What you like. You deserve the best.”

Delizioso!

What are you hungry for? What do you do to feed your { self }? And how do you feel about it?