Learning To Love Cooking and Eating

How’s your relationship with food?

Mine’s been a life time of ups and downs. I’ve gone from battling allergies as a child along with fussy eating, to trying out every kind of omission in my ‘diet’.

And ugh, that word – ‘diet’.

I was raised on basic peasant goodness, some of which didn’t agree with me or I didn’t like – homemade yoghurt and sauerkraut. Oh yowzer I hear everyone shout, fermented food is good for you!

It is for me, now. But around fifty to forty years ago it wasn’t.

As a teenager I learnt to manipulate the art of eating. I was a flakey, moody kinda teen who soon discovered they were polycystic and felt ruled by their hormones.

This hormonal hold was stronger than my resolve, and I went in to my 20’s spending a lot of time in endocrinology, treated, investigated. I maintained good weight though throughout.

Then I slid. Now in my 50’s, and three years post-MI, having lost weight, I’m back to battling with eating food – loving it that is, the weight has absolutely stayed off. I knew I had to tackle this mind/body thing though.

It’s as simple as this, I think. I’m not sure I understand how to love food, or my body.

I accept there have been all kinds of trials in my life from early years, but I don’t like being beaten by food. I acknowledge that the relationship my mother had with my step father and his treatment of her, angered me throughout my childhood and into my adult life. I became a woman whose mission was to rescue women and children from that experience.

My mother’s way of dealing with his beastly words and behaviour was to care relentlessly and this was through cooking sometimes. I on the other hand, was all for poisoning the mad bastard! (Therein lies a good tale of crime to write!).

But I found Italy (again) and started to believe there was an answer in there, somewhere, so I read and read all things Italian.

After seeing a tweet by chef Jack Munro about how Nigella’s book How To Eat transformed her eating and relationship with food I decided to get it out of the library.

It’s one big book filled predominantly with words, which surprised me. I always saw Nigella Lawson as a tv cook who lured people in to watching her programmes with her dulcet voice, as she happily scoffed leftovers of her recipes at midnight.

By eck, the chef can write!

I’ve poured over the book during the last few weeks and soaked in her words, her love for cooking and eating.

Just one quote here from the Low Fat chapter (which is brilliant), there are many I could pull out from the pages:

‘I don’t disparage the shallow concerns of the ordinarily vain, which, after all, I share. What I hate is all this new-age voodoo about eating, the notion that foods are either harmful or healing, that a good diet makes a good person and that the person is necessarily lean, limber, toned and fit. Quite apart from anything else, I don’t see the muscular morality argument. Why should a concern for your physical health be seen as a sign as virtue? Such a view seems to me in danger of fusing Nazism (with its ideological cult of physical perfection) and Puritanism (with its horror of the flesh and belief in salvation through denial.)’

There’s more of course, much more, in this book that is meaningful, healing and full of love about food – a healthy kind of love. Nigella took what was good from her childhood and put it out there. She has also shared her bad times too. We can do both, I believe and come out on top.

 

It’s Earth Day

… and the Easter Bank Holidays. Rebellion is afoot. I sense a long, hot summer of action.

Activities over the weekend include painting and writing, listening to plenty of music.

My fuel, now that the sun is warming, is affogato.

I am avoiding the crowds.

Easter salad recipe:

You will need a large platter for this.

Sliced boiled potatoes and eggs left to go warm

Red onion, red pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, all chopped.

Variety of salad leaves.

Lots of rocket and grated carrot.

Black olives

An avocado, sliced. 

Croutons, pomegranate seeds.

Arrange everything as suits.

Dress with extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, lime juice, pepper.

Add some smoked salmon if you fancy it.

I don’t think you need anything else to go with. Enjoy!

 

 

Christmas Morning

I love the quietness of Christmas morning, being up before everyone else, no real need to go anywhere.

It’s been many years since I worked in crisis intervention and was on 24 hour call out over the festive period – not so enjoyable, as families feel the pressure. It shouldn’t be like this, but it is.

It saddens me to witness homelessness and on such a scale, in Britain. Every year I ‘do something’, like many, during this time. It’s all too easy to become bereft of home and this shouldn’t be so in our modern, apparently wealthy nation.

We have spent too long squabbling over staying in Europe. Our politicians and media seem to take the p*ss out of all of us, the citizens. Surely this is what binds us together.

I am aware of the rifts in our society, growing deeper – this is how it is before conflict. A slow build-up, a cat amongst the pigeons, the devil that is the rise of the far right. Many refer to the 1930’s. There are similarities.

The difference that could be now is this: We are more aware. We have won many fights against transgressions on humanity. We have learnt the hard way.

We also know what needs to be done to take care of Mother Earth and all her little babies.

On the wall to my right is Desiderata. I read it this morning and reflect on my own confusion, anger, sense of injustice.

Then I pour another coffee.

Peace be with everyone.