Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What You Eat When You Eat Alone

Those of you who know me, know that this is a favorite topic. I like to ask this question at dinner parties. It is a topic that absolutely fascinates me.

What do you eat or cook for yourself, when it’s just you to consider, no one else, just you? Do you cook? Do you order? What do you eat?

As a woman and as a woman who cooks, food is so much a part of my life, my fabric, my core. Women are taught to love and nurture using food. My grandmother made cookies and desserts and casseroles and popcorn and grilled cheese because she loved me (and my mom and grandpa and all of us.)  My mom makes great guacamole and  killer potato salad. She made food for me because she loved me; for both my mom and grandma cooking was an act of love since neither of them loved to cook—both good cooks, both willing cooks, neither had the love for cooking.

Maybe it skips two generations? But whatever the reason, I love to cook. I love food. I love to feed and nurture with food. It started early. My mom would give me Tiger’s Milk bars from the health-food store and yogurt-covered pretzels from the Peanut Shop downtown. It was a treat. It was a nod from her to me to say “I love you and thought of you today.”  Just something small, but little yogurt-covered nuggets of love nevertheless.

Whatever it is—and please know that I could write about food, and dig in deep and go on and on forever—whatever it is that makes food so important to me, the reason isn’t as important (because there isn’t one reason but a multitude) as the effect. I cook with love. I make food because I love you. I make my daughter and husband dinner because I love them and want them to have healthy food to nourish their bodies and minds—those bodies and minds that I love and cherish and adore.  Cooking is an act of love. (And love is an act of will, remember?)

So, then, how do I love myself? What do I eat when there is no one else to please, no other tastes to consider? When I want to honor and love me, to nourish myself a little?

These are a few of my favorite things (to eat alone)
-       tapas: sardines in olive oil, simple crackers, goat cheese, capers, red onion, tomato slices, lemon wedge, new sprouts
-       macaroni and cheese with canned tuna and frozen peas (poor woman’s tuna casserole)
-       popcorn, cxtra-sharp cheddar,  crisp apple
-       red wine
-       chocolate bar to dip into peanut butter
-       sushi (at sushi bar)
-       cold pizza or cold leftover spaghetti 

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