With little effort

It's almost as much fun to photograph fruit as it is to eat it! I couldn't resist stopping to snap a picture as I put groceries away, August 2015.

It’s almost as much fun to photograph fruit as it is to eat it!
I couldn’t resist stopping to snap a picture as I put groceries away, August 2015.

“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?

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Sheila

    Good morning and Good Friday to you my dear friend, Julia. I am in receipt of your card and clipping and I thank you so much. The clipping has been full circle now! I recognized it from the Sun News, our local newspaper, and I must have sent it to you back in the day! I hope you have a wonderful Easter, my favorite holiday✝️💜

    • Wow, how interesting! It was not with any card or letter you had written me, but saved in a stash of stuff I had set aside to send others (so I assumed I had planned to send it to you). Probably I had thought to send it to my bird-loving aunt. In any case, I enjoyed it the second time around and I hope you did too! Walter added such color and joy to my world at a time when I sorely needed it! Hope everyone at 428 is doing great!

  2. Mickey

    One of the pleasures of eating for our family is the smell of fresh bread baking and of onion and garlic being sauteed. Anticipation for good things to taste and the house smells so good!

    • Yes, every time I cook now– which I rarely do anymore– I realize all over again how much the smell of cooking adds to the enjoyment of the food. And baked goods in the oven? BLISS!!!

  3. Good morning, Julia!
    Coincidentally, I do plan on cooking and baking this weekend. Usually, we have Easter dinner with my friend Gail’s family or with Patrick’s family, but this year we decided to treat ourselves to a nice Easter Brunch Buffet, and then procrastinated on making reservations until the only desirable option left would have cost $225 for the two of us. We decided that it would be more fun (and more responsible) to splurge on groceries, instead of trying to eat our money’s worth at the brunch buffet! I’ve already made the humble (but yummy) deviled eggs, and am planning more cooking (and eating along the way) today and tomorrow, including Maple Sugar Bacon, which we never buy for ourselves.
    Another reason to say “Hallelujah!” and praise God for His provision!
    I wish you and Matt a marvelous Easter, too!

    • Susan, all that sounds wonderful. And yes, I too would have considered that price tag a deal breaker! Jot yourself a note on next’s years February planner, to reserve that brunch! 🙂

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