Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Foodie's Fallish Philosophy on Her Cooking Life

I've just come in from putting the dog out.  The fog is beautiful this morning.  It's not the dark, murky fog that's been creeping around all week long.  It's the kind that hovers and glows, its whispery essence highlighting the faintest of frost on the fallen leaves, inspiring deep, gulping breaths of the fall air.

My senses and imagination go into overload in such moments.  Such transcendent beauty, for me, makes time stand still, and I want to put my hand out and hold it there.  It is the freest that I ever feel, being trapped in those moments.  

And then they are gone, like waking up from a dream, and I am left with the same drive every time: bless the beauty of this world then go out and enjoy every fricking moment of your life.

And so here I am, writing you all.  You, my readers, are what I love.  You and the food that I write to you about.  It's not a choice that I make.  It just is.  Time has transformed not only food for me, but it has transformed me through food.

Michael asked me last night over a dinner of cottage pie, "Do you eat to live or live to eat?"

"Definitely live to eat," I replied.

He laughed.  "My health teacher would say that that is exactly what you should NOT do."

I smiled.  I knew what that question was supposed to mean.  It implies that living to eat is being obsessed by food and not caring about the health factors of any of it, eating "whatever you want" because you only go around once. For me, it conjures images of 300-lb. individuals surrounded by hordes of food, like Ben Stiller in the end credits of Dodgeball.  

Eating to live implies making intelligent and healthy choices about what we eat, therefore extending our quality and length of life because we aren't putting things into our bodies that are toxic in one way or another.

My food philosophy, I came to realize as we talked, is politic cooking with abandonment.  If you've read the posts on this blog over the past year, you know that I am very concerned about the healthiness of what I eat.  I understand fully that what goes in either does good or bad, and the amount of damage caused is something I will have to live with.  But that doesn't mean that I'm stuck with bran muffins and broccoli the rest of my life.  Although I love bran muffins and broccoli...  

My point is: being healthy does NOT mean that you can't absolutely love the food that you are eating, nor does it mean you can't constantly think about food. I am always thinking about the next meal because I love everything that goes into cooking and experiencing new foods.

And when it comes to sweets, The Millstone around the psychological neck of anyone starting to think of "eating healthy," here's the deal: for me--and this is truly for me, in accordance with my personal philosophy--that does not mean that I never eat something "unhealthy."  Chocolate chip cookies are not a healthy choice to eat every day.  They are not a healthy choice to eat every week.  But if I make a batch of cookies once a month to share with friends, and I eat a few of those cookies, savoring the buttery, chocolate-y warmth of every bite that makes my soul sing--that is a psychologically healthy choice for me.  Because telling myself "no" forever is just not going to work for me.  And--I could be wrong, but--eating a chocolate chip cookie or two once a month most likely is not going to shave off months of my life.

So there it is. My thoughts on my cooking life. I guess I live to eat to live.  

Oh, how fog can lead to philosophy...

So...what's yours?


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