With little effort
“Whatever the season, and with little effort, your kitchen can be as headily fragrant as groves, orchards, gardens…bakeries, brasseries, coffeehouses, and tearooms. If you view food and beverages as simply substances to be eaten and drunk quickly, you’re missing more pleasure than you could imagine.” — Sara Ban Breathnach
Let’s just say I’m no gourmet cook. Fortunately, I don’t require gourmet food, and neither does my family. During the appetite-intensive years when there were two hungry male teenagers with parents who could eat about as much as they did, my cooking ran heavily (no pun intended) to classic comfort menus with lots of recipes that contained Campbell’s cream soups. For special dinners I’d make yeast rolls from scratch, and Jeff kept fresh cookies baking on a continual basis. We ate voraciously and quickly. Life was good.
Life is still good, of course, but things in our home have changed considerably on the food front. At nearly 60 years old, I’m here to tell you that everything you’ve heard about weight gain getting worse as we age turned out to be entirely true for us. Jeff’s cancer has meant that he now struggles to keep weight on, not off, but chemo does cruel things to the appetite, so there is no such thing as a typical meal in our home anymore. For different reasons, neither of us can eat as we once did.
It has not been as bad as it sounds. The changes in our food habits– habits being the prime influence on my eating patterns– have been beneficial in many ways. I eat less now, and feel satisfied more easily. I pay closer attention to what and how I eat, and try not to eat quickly. But I had to acquire these practices gradually after 40 years of never having to worry about my weight, other than during childhood when I was mercilessly teased about being a skinny beanpole. Getting over the “more = better” mentality took some time.
On the plus side, I’ve learned to savor food and maximize the enjoyment of each and every calorie. I’ve developed a taste for fresher ingredients. I focus more on the sight, aroma and texture of foods and drink. I sometimes browse in grocery stores as in the library, reading about exotic foods I have no real intention of buying or eating. As with much that is beautiful and wholesome, food actually becomes more enjoyable when we back away from viewing it only through the lens of craved consumption, and contemplate its nutritional role as a crucial facet of our appreciation.
As Kelly (aka Boomdee) could tell you, I can happily live on a diet of nuts and tea, but I do love to indulge in the endless variety of flavor and fragrance that is so bountifully available to us. It’s really true that little effort is required, though I admire people who are gifted in the culinary arts. For those of us less talented in the kitchen, we can still fill our homes with the delicious sights and smells of freshly brewed coffee or tea, sauteed fresh vegetables, or cheese toast melting under the broiler. What’s cooking at your place today?