Last night I had dinner with some of my favorite women and as always our conversation turned to
food. We talked about recipes, blogging, and then dropped into pizza. For a while.
Confession, I don't like pizza. I never really have.
I am consistently amazed by the response when people learn this fun fact about me. It happens every time. Shock. Disbelief. Near rejection.
But for whatever reason, my taste buds have never been tempted by cheezy pie dripping with tomato-y sauce.
In a desperate attempt to reel myself back into the "we can be friends" box I'd just catapulted out of, I racked my brain for some other mouth-watering, pre-food allergy, "still don't care, I'd eat it anyway" food.
I couldn't come up with anything.
Not one thing came to mind.
For the remainder of the evening I sat troubled with why there wasn't a food in my past I still longed for - a nostalgic reminder of what was.
Here's what I came to realize: my history with food, my memories and longings, have been papered over with diets, information, the shoulds and shouldn'ts, loathing, denial, anxiety and restraint. I'd never really loved food. In fact, food was something to be controlled, ordered, categorized, binged, ignored, too important or not important at all.
Prior to a few years ago, I'd never known what it was to savor, to enjoy, to revel in the tastes exploding in my mouth. To say a sincere thank you to the nutrients that would nourish my body and the hands that had tended them.
I was completely disconnected from this vital source of life.
And then I was forced to acknowledge it. My body and mind and soul found itself in crisis and I had to take a good look at this friendship with food I'd so disastrously neglected.
I began to pay attention. To ask my body how it felt. To watch and observe and slow down. I started to connect emotion with physical sensations, quality with health, and stillness with wholeness. Rather than falling haphazardly into my next meal [or skipping it completely], I slowly and intentionally began to build space into my day and week to plan and to cook. I planted a garden and learned what it meant to eat seasonally. I practiced yoga, restoring the connection between my mind and my body. I started sitting down to eat. I learned what I liked, I mean really truly liked, and I made it.
I entered into the dance, re-writing my perception of healthy and whole.
It took time, effort, an increased portion of our budget, and the willingness to experiment and fail.
Last night I realized something else: I'm so grateful for the journey I've been on. So deeply thankful that I've come from there to here, on my way to somewhere, that I can't help but dig into what I have now. The plate in front of me, heavy with good food and immense growth.
I look back now only to say thank you.
Maybe you've been where I was. Maybe you're there now. My invitation to you is to take one step, one step towards opening yourself to a redemptive conversation with food. Maybe you stroll the farmer's market and ask some questions. Maybe you put the diet books away. Maybe you call someone and ask for help. Perhaps you sit at the table, one local strawberry on your plate, and bite in. You chew slowly, close your eyes, and observe what it really tastes like.
There are a host of beginnings, it just takes one.
This morning the question still plagued me. Was there not one food, just one!, from my childhood that still caught my attention?
Potato skins. Twice baked potato skins packed with colby jack cheese, drowned in sour cream.
Our friendship lives on.
Photo Credit: My husband's homemade pizza.