“i said to my soul be still and wait so the darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing.” t. s. eliot Winter has always seemed to me to be a season of waiting. Maybe that’s why I’ve struggled to like it. All season long, we wait for the days to lengthen again, the sun to shine again, the weather to warm again. We don our heavy coats and rugged boots and trudge…
I don’t know about you guys, but, for me, the days that follow Thanksgiving are, no contest, the least inspired days, cooking-wise, all year long.
This past Saturday was my favorite kind of day: we had no plans, no place we had to be, no major to-do lists—and, at least for someone with my personality and temperament, I am finding days like this are crucial. Spending 24 hours at a leisurely pace, the kind where you stroll around the Franklin farmers market, fall asleep for two hours on the sofa, hold your husband’s hand as you walk up and down…
If you don’t want anything in your life to change, say, for example, your food stereotypes?
Don’t read this book.
Because if you do, one chapter in, you might start saying things like, Maybe I could like mushrooms! Or fish! Or pickles! And so you will, try some of those things, I mean, after a lifetime of not, and you won’t hate them, not even a little, and you’ll suddenly see an entire world of menus and restaurant options that you’ve always overlooked, and, really, everything will change.
Now the second thing (which could seem unrelated): If you buy a birthday present six months early, don’t, please, make that present be for me.
Because if you do, you could be talking to me one night, about something simple like what what you did that day, while I eat forkfuls of tender pot roast and whipped mashed potatoes, and just randomly, I’ll tell you, You know, I think I’m going to buy a Le Creuset French oven next week, and you won’t be able to hold it in, that you bought me one, so within minutes, I’ll be opening the big box, uncovering the cream-colored, beautiful, beautiful cast-iron pot inside, ruining the surprise. And I will have to make something in it, right away.
It’s not like I have something against healthy food. Seriously. In fact, there are times—like at the end of last week, in which I’d shared an entire dozen doughnuts with a friend, ordered things like toasted (and breaded) ravioli and huge slices of pizza, eaten meat in my lunches and dinners, gotten takeout more often than I’d brought brown-bagged meals (and had the accompanying bloating and heaviness to prove it)—where something fresh and healthy is all I do want. I know it may not seem like it around here, where I’ve posted dozens of cookie recipes and, lately, an onslaught of cakes, but I swear it’s true.
It’s just—I’m going to be honest—I don’t like eating things that don’t taste good. Is that so terrible? And, at least up until this point in my life, the things that taste good are, usually, not exactly healthy. The way I see it, if I’m already frustrated about, say, the fact that an apartment I went to see was in a creepy, creepy building with hotel hallways, I don’t want to add to that misery with bad food, do I? It wouldn’t be right.
So my solution for years, in terms of eating reasonably well while not killing myself in the process, has been portion control. I try very hard to eat because I’m hungry, not because I’m bored or lonely or something else. I eat whatever I want, but I don’t eat a lot of it, at least not regularly. (And when I do eat too much, my stomach is there to punish me, and, believe me, it does.)
But I’ve made a recent discovery that sort of thwarts my working system or, really, trumps it. This probably won’t be a secret to you, but I have been shocked. Here it is: Healthy things can taste good. Like, really, really good. Who knew?