Food evokes all kinds of responses.
I have friends who genuinely don't care what they eat. They eat just to live, could care less what they ingest.
Some see food as a barrier to their ultimate goal – to be thin. Model Kate Moss, scarcely a role model, nonetheless summed it up for way too many young girls: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
Wow, not for me. Of course, that might be part of my problem, but lots of things taste way better than skinny ever felt.
I've only been really thin once in my life. The months after my father died, I stopped eating. It was the only time I was a size six – and it didn't matter one whit to me. And I guess I wasn't even that thin, compared to today's concept of size zero being a worthwhile achievement.
One of the happiest times for me is when I'm at the table, surrounded by family and friends, enjoying each other's company, as well as delicious food. I like to cook. It's my hobby. But for those who don't, I enjoy the food just as well if we're together, at a restaurant or eating take-out. Food paired with those I care about is the perfect combination.
But I also like the adventure of food. Some friends think spending money eating out is a waste. They want something tangible for their money, like books, clothing, jewelry. Heck, I like those things too, but I also like the fun of finding new restaurants, not even particularly expensive ones, and sharing the experience of new tastes.
Some times, food is a source of comfort. That's probably wrong, but does it work better if I say that food prompts memories that give me joy? When I make a Kugel (noodle pudding), I remember the lovely lady who gave me the recipe. I got a thrill when my granddaughter was asked what she wanted to eat when she got to Grandma's, and she announced that Grandma always made her macaroni and cheese (her favorite). My homemade chocolate chip cookies are a staple for holidays, expected by family and friends.
We host a luncheon every year on the first day of Rosh Hashonah (the Jewish New Year). One friend shared with me that he woke up the morning of the holiday, just a week after the tragedy of 9-11, and knew no matter what else was happening in the world, he could count on the baked salmon I cook every year for the guests. That sense of continuity gave him comfort in a time of uncertainty. This year, when I changed things up a little with a new chicken dish, you would have thought I had introduced pizza as the main dish for Thanksgiving (which wouldn't offend me at all if that is what your family has traditionally served).
So I'd like to lose 10 pounds, but I'd also like to continue to eat my favorite foods. You don't have to tell me. Moderation is the key, with patience required for slow, but steady results. Yeah, I hear you.
In the meantime, what does food mean to you? And what is your favorite food memory?
Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David
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