I want to post this before I get to the meat of what I made, and ate, this morning.
I am once more excited about food, food knowledge, food experiences, and food's place in this earthly experience we're sharing.
Food's role in my life has changed hugely over the course of my 24 years, but it's always been there in more than just the necessary ways. It's always been in my consciousness, as a jumping off and returning point for my memories, and it has always been full of emotion (positive and negative), wonderment, appreciation, and at times, vexing hostility (clarification: food has never been hostile toward me - except with food poisoning and lactose-intolerance- but I have been toward it at times; this blog's upcoming posts are my apology).
There are many reasons why I lost sight of what I loved about food, and the things that motivated this blog. But there are many reasons more of why I'm excited again and can see why this is worth doing.
I've moved a lot over the past 3 years - out of mom and dad's in California, with their beautiful cooking equipment, spacious kitchen, and a fully-stocked spice and sauce repertoire. It was great for having friends over, entertaining them, and stuffing them silly with calories while they stuffed me silly with inebriates. Then it was on to a futon in Boise with someone I had just met, with no kitchen except a sink, a microwave, and a fridge. Sometimes I slept in my car, but this was out of choice, not need. Then it was into student housing, which was actually ideal kitchen wise, because for the summer I had a whole space to myself for a good bit. Then into a bad roommate situation (at this time I was vegan) close to campus. On to a tiny studio apartment which was acceptable for cooking, and some good things came out of that kitchen, but my passion was beginning to wane due to life's stresses and other more immediate concerns - like grades, writing, being a writing consultant, internships, boys, friends, etc.
Finally, from this studio, I moved into an amazing tiny house in Boise's East End with a stove from the seventies. This house is well over a century old with many repairs, and it could have been ideal for me to cook a lot (once I mastered the oven), but by this time, I was deflated for all sorts of reasons.
First and foremost, I was afraid of making food memories. I know this sounds ridiculous, but there are so many people I've loved and fed and been loved by, and so many places I've made food memories that aren't permanent (although I'd have argued that permanence didn't and still doesn't matter to me...clearly, it did).
I'll never forget Crystal feeding me her mom's super spicy garlicky homemade pickles, or making her amazing vegetable marinara sauce with every vegetable imaginable. I'll never forget having Riverside friends over for an Italian food night, complete with about 2 gallons of sangria. I'll never forget being in Hungary with Simona and hard boiling an egg to discover a golden orange yolk, or munching on organic raspberries the size of strawberries, or squeezing lemons as sweet as oranges over salads, or buying a perfect heavy sugary watermelon on the side of the road and going back to a new friend's house for tea and fruit after a burning hot summer day in Szeged.
Crystal with her food catheter after wrecking her jaw. She's an inspiration to us all:
Moving a lot was also frustrating. It was so hard to stay organized and stocked full of the basics I needed to make the best and the simplest of meals. Looking back, I could have done it, but I always sort of knew that no place was going to be lived in for a very long time, so I didn't make the effort to do things like label jars and bins with the essentials or plant a strong herb garden for daily use.
Lastly, things concerning dietary habits continued to baffle and confuse me. I've been anywhere from eating a half a jar of peanut butter (and miraculously not gaining weight, thanks to ice skating), and downing a large bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos on family road trips as an eight year old, to eating 200 calories over the course of two whole days as a high school student, or exercising for 2 hours daily on under 1000 calories a day a couple of years out of high school.
I know what it's like to stand up in Barnes and Noble, to see spots, and be unsure if I'm going to be able to drive myself home. I know what it's like to have tachycardia from being underweight. I know what it's like to pretend to drink the beer someone hands me because I'm afraid of the calories. I know what it's like to watch Paula Dean slop butter onto cornbread and clench my fists in misguided rage. I know what it's like to hate myself so much, that the only option where food is concerned is near-abstinence. I know what it's like to be so passionate about animal and global concerns that my only option was veganism. I know what it's like to not want to be a pain in the ass at a barbeque or on a holiday and need to have a separate option. I also know what it's like to bite down on a juicy chicken thigh after not eating meat in ages and seriously feel my whole body melt and my brain lift itself up with a surge of nourishing chemicals.
A night I remember specifically pretending to drink beer:
Food is difficult in the world we currently live in. A lot of things are more difficult than they need to be in this clusterfuck where we currently reside. There are so many factors, so much information to grab hold of that it's difficult to not go at least a little insane (whether you realize it or not). I can take almost any dietary angle and be right, based on information.
I can advocate a raw vegan, mostly fruit diet based on information to back it up (information pertaining to human health, animal well being, and the planet's needs all existing in abundance).
I can advocate an omnivorous diet where animal protein plays a role in daily meal planning, again with ample information to back it up.
I can advocate an intuitive eating diet where you eat literally what you want when you want within reason and remain active, with cited ample "proven" information.
I can even advocate a diet high in animal protein and saturated fats, but low in carbohydrates (such as nutritious fruits and grains), based yet again, on recorded "proven" cited data.
I can advocate a wheat free or a wheat-based diet, and write research papers proving each to be the be-all "answer" with the other as bullshit, with a super fancy works cited page that will convince the shit out of anyone, probably even myself as I write it, leading again to a massive vortex of confusion.
Being picky with a menu:
So there are the reasons I've abandoned food blogging, and have tried to abstain from food curiosity. I've been overwhelmed, and have tried to let food take a huge backseat in my life as nothing more than a source of needed energy and nutrition.
But now I think I am the right combination of informed, skeptical, and once-again, ardent and curious. Not because of any data out there in health journals, fitness magazines, Pinterest articles, or books written by dieticians. Not because I want to lose weight, gain weight, or change my body in any way at all (because it's pretty awesome in everything it does). But because of my own awareness of my body, which is finally, first and foremost, going to be my most trusted guide, combined with what I know about ethics and food awareness.
I'm going to allow for curiosity, wonderment, and passion surrounding the world of food once more, because things were getting far too stale when I tried to push this innate part of myself aside because I believed it to be stressful. What is stressful and belittling of life is not allowing one of the most enjoyable experiences we have available to us as humans (those of us who are fortunate enough to be fed and choose how we feed ourselves) to exist at the forefront of our existences.
For me, food belongs among my main focuses in life. It belongs up there with love, family, poetry, and art. It belongs in the realm of awe and curiosity. It belongs in the realm of happiness and of awareness.
Here's once more, to food. Now lets tuck in with intuition, knowledge without insanity, and most importantly, gratitude.