Until I became a part of my husband’s family I had a pretty mainstream view of food. I appreciated all good foods, tried to eat my share of the healthy stuff, and apart from the occaisional festivity, kept my eating within moderation. But then along came Paul. He introduced me to a whole host of foods I’d never conceived before. And they were good. And they were expensive. And it would be a sin to not finish everything on my plate. For special occaisions my inlaws, the facilitators (the title is probably more accurately the enablers, but I prefer facilitators) would send us money for fancy dinners out. Food was a celebration. It was also a reason unto itself for celebration. Thanks to them, I have eaten at some pretty fantastic places, and if you’re ever visiting any of the cities in which I have dined, I implore you to ask me for dining advice first.
I like to think of it as art appreciation. Can you have too much art? Can you have too much music? We love good food for all of its facets: the bare ingredients, simple players in the play; the harmonious way in which they are combined; and the aesthetically pleasing way in which they are plated. The chef himself the playwright, director, composer, maestro, and artist. Can you really cut yourself off halfway from a masterpiece? And why would anyone do so?
Besides, food makes you feel good. Or it does for me. Stressed? A little bit of food helps. Sad? A little bit of food helps. Tired? Well, I think we all know where I’m going here. And while I know there are better, more productive, long-terms ways to deal with all of these things, the truth of the matter is that eating feels good, and sometimes you need to feel better right away if you are to continue caring for all those other people who depend on you.
But then all of a sudden you see a picture of yourself and think, “how did that happen?” Knowing how it happened, but still surprised that it happened. And if you’re like me you have that special kind of body image disorder that makes it so that when you look in the mirror you don’t actually look as bad as you do in real life, and only a photograph can tell you how you really look to the world. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t look in the mirror and see the woman I was ten years ago, but there’s a good ten pound discrepancy between what I see in the mirror and what I see in photographs.
So I must face my own judgement. And I must exact my own punishment. And I must find a way to reconcile art appreciation, emotional security, and health. And I must deal with being a little bit hungry all the time. They say that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but I think they just haven’t tasted half of the things I have.