Food has been woven into my memory since I was a child. My mom was an avid home chef. She had a demanding career, but made a delicious home-cooked meal most nights after work. On Fridays she and my dad hosted their own “date night” — they stayed in, tried a new recipe, shared a good bottle of wine. One time I even caught them dancing to Al Green. My mom also entertained for others often; hosting friends for fancy hat luncheons, family for Thanksgivings that had too many Bloody Marys, two turkeys, and always one ham (and one year — a turducken). My parents opened their door to loved ones for New Year’s Eve feasts with chocolate mousse and filets, casual summer dinners for my friends when we shucked corn and hung around her in the kitchen while she cracked jokes and fed us a real meal, which we were often not getting on a regular basis at the time.
My parents took me to high end restaurants where I fell in love with shrimp and bread and banana splits. They also hosted a few birthday parties at McDonalds and my friends still tease me about my affinity for the Filet-o-Fish but I remind them that high/low applies to food, not just fashion. We traveled a lot, too. And our itinerary was plotted around food. In Hawaii I learned how to make a stuffed artichoke with JJ at the Kapalua hotel and drank guava juice and ate good pineapple and fresh Mahi Mahi; in Paris I watched my dad overdose on champagne and foie gras which meant lots of laughing and hiccups; when I lived in Germany for a few seasons I relived my nostalgia from German camp every morning when I ate charcuterie, bread, and Nutella for breakfast; in London a waiter challenged me to finish my steak dinner and said he would buy me dessert if I did (he lost); during a trip to Alaska my mom and I took a sea plane out to a glacier and ate fresh salmon while we watched the waves lap up onto sheets of ice and I fell a little more in love with nature then, too.
I didn’t realize the impact diet had on my health, though, until my adulthood. I navigated some difficult health diagnoses including endometriosis, Lyme’s disease, anxiety, depression. I treated my body like shit for years while my mom underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer, and even more so after she died. I had emotional traumas that I didn’t pay attention to healing. And I became a mom and my body completely changed. Once I started slowing down and noticing and enjoying what I was putting in my body — and my mind — I began to heal. And cooking became a moving meditation for me, too. It got me through some very difficult chapters in my life. The loss of a parent, the loss of marriage, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression. Food let me show people I loved them in addition to telling them. It helped me heal myself.
I believe everything had a vibration, a frequency, an impact. So if the tomatoes I pick up from my farm share have been tended to with good energy, and I bring them to my kitchen and treat them with loving kindness, and the ratatouille I make using them makes its way to your home; your body is going to get a lot more nourishment than picking up takeout made with low quality ingredients by someone who is distracted or who simply doesn’t care.
Food is medicine. Slow down. Enjoy it. Develop a relationship with your body so you know what kind of food works for you. Follow your intuition and literally your gut. Your body is smarter than you know, so pay attention to what it’s telling you and pay even more attention to what you’re putting inside.