Fixing Food

In my last entry, I wrote a little bit about my return home and discovering that I suddenly had quite the adversarial relationship with food. In truth, it probably wasn’t as sudden as it seemed, but it sure did hit me hard when it finally came to a head.

I, quite literally, spent the first five days upon returning home thinking about what the hell had happened here. Why did the very thought of cooking, writing a blog post, reading a food book or food blog, or really anything fill me with an intensely snarly feeling?

When had food, by which I mean every single thing that could fall under the umbrella of that word, become a chore?

And how do you fix that when it’s not just your hobby, your major source of entertainment, and a great deal of your intellectual pursuits, but also something you can’t just totally walk away from? You know, because it’s required for all life.

I considered scaling back my “investment” in food. Taking a break, as it were, and just eating whatever, whenever. It seemed like a shitty idea, though. One, that probably leads to me subsisting for well over a week on Kraft Dinner and Hostess Cupcakes. Two, I still have to do dishes and cook something, probably. Three, it just felt wrong, on an ethical level. Just because I’d lost my interest in food didn’t mean I’d stopped believing the things I believed before. That I need to eat more healthfully. That I wanted to cook more. That I wanted to eat more locally sourced foods. That I wanted my meat to be raised humanely and locally. That I should try to reduce my food waste. That I want to keep my food dollars as much in fairly small, local businesses as I can. That I have, and thus should use, a weekly produce delivery until the end of the year.

Nope. I didn’t stop believing those things. Now I just didn’t want to deal with any of them, because I felt overwhelmed AND I was mad at myself for feeling this way.

Not, as you can imagine, the most productive cycle.

So, what fixed it? What broke me out of that cycle? And got me back in the saddle, as it were?

Well, for starters, I got impulsive and posted to a small, private online group I’ve recently joined. I asked them what they do when that thing they love becomes a chore. And, know what? They had a lot of great tips. Ironically, none of the tips directly helped me, but each and every one made me think a little bit more about the situation. After all, now I’d reached out to relative strangers for help, and people were taking time out of their day to do so.

This isn’t something you squander, folks.

Furthermore, I may have bitched about it to Bill, Angelique and Angelique’s husband, Marty. Marty and I may have had an in-depth text exchange about it. That text exchange may have included a gazillion tips that Angelique has given me before, and this time flat-out said she’d realized don’t tend to work for me. It may have also included some minor discussion of the ethical reasons Bill and I have a CSA, and also the money we’d put into the CSA.

In other words, I had a huge investment in my state of being from three super important people. This really isn’t something you squander.

So, what did I do?

I said, “Let’s make a pizza.” Bill said okay. And so we made a pizza. At home, in our very own oven, using our very own dishes. (And then cleaning them up.)

It turns out, some of what I needed to “get back in the saddle” was to just “get back in the saddle.” Apparently that piece of wisdom many of us learn when we’re obsessed with cowboys, about just getting back on the horse if you fall off, is true.

It wasn’t just the getting back to it that helped, though. It was, for me, the specific act of making pizza. Partially, because it’s tasty and easy. Partially because we knew we had all of the ingredients on hand, so we wouldn’t have to go shopping. Partially because it allowed us to use some food from our stores that was going to potentially go to waste otherwise. And, partially, it helped because it allowed me to pull a few things out of the freezer and have an easy, go-to meal.

This led to me getting excited again about tomato season and farmers’ markets. It led to me considering what I’m going to try to preserve this year. It got me back into a little bit of balance. And, it broke the logjam in my head enough to allow me to more thoroughly consider what happened to get me into that spot.

I wrote previously about my internal food meltdown. Today’s post was all about recovering from it, or starting to. My next post will get into the reasons behind the meltdown, so if you’re curious, check back on Wednesday. Thanks.

ETA: I got into the reasons. It turns out the blueberries did it. Who’da thunk it?