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Friday, October 23, 2015

Bon Appétit

Yeah, that's me. Sure.

I’m sick to death of food.
Not of eating food. I run so I can eat food. Seriously. I used to point frantically to the scriptures as a way to rationalize jogging as an inherently sinful behavior, because Proverbs 28:1 reads, “The wicked flee though no one pursues.” But after hitting middle age, and finding myself paunchy and weak, as well as too cheap and lazy to go to the gym, I took up running in order to support my dessert habit without turning into Jabba the Hutt.
No, I’m tired of planning food, and buying food, and cooking food, and cleaning up after food.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful—wildly thankful—that I can feed myself and my family. Every time I walk the aisles at Trader Joe’s, and restock my pantry and refrigerator with my abundant selections, I remember that there are kids who go to bed hungry night after night because their moms don’t have the access or the means to procure food for them.
There’s nothing about that that isn’t wrong.
But in the same light, I want to ask my children, “Why must you eat three times a day?!? Shouldn’t we eat less, and less often, so there’s more food to go around?
“And I just fed you yesterday. And the day before. And every day since I pushed you, with tears and sweat and blood and agony, out of my body. The body to which you immediately turned for food!”
Where is the rest for this weary woman?
I don’t like cooking.
There, I said it. I’m a lousy homemaker, because I loathe cleaning and I’ve run completely out of grace and patience and creativity for cooking.
I remember when I was a kid, around four o’clock in the afternoon my mom would say, “Oh, Lord. I have no idea what to make for dinner tonight.”
And I’d say, “Are you kidding me, woman? You have at least seven thousand cookbooks and five drawers stuffed with recipes, and a garden out back, and a freezer and a refrigerator and a pantry so loaded you can barely close any of them. The possibilities are endless!”
She’d lower her chin to her chest, look down at me through those steely blue eyes, and rasp, “Just wait till you’re a mom.”
Oh, I get it now, Mom. I get it.
The question, “What’s for dinner?” flays my woebegone soul at what I think ought to be the end of a long day. But it’s not the end of the day. Because I still have to feed people. I crumple into a demoralized heap of brokenness in the middle of the kitchen floor and whimper, “I don’t know!”
And inevitably one of those people comes up to the stove later as I’m cooking, with that facial expression, the one of suspicion and skepticism and disgust. And s/he points to the pot, nose wrinkled in a snobby little snarl, and says, “What’s that?”
And I say, “It’s stewed monkey brains in asparagus compote. And you’re going to eat it and love it.”
I’m probably shooting myself in the foot there, but it makes me feel better.
One of the things I’ve heard more than every-so-often from people who know me and read this blog and hear my stories is, “I feel so much better about my own life/parenting/spousing now.”
You’re welcome. Go ahead and use me as your litmus test for at-least-I-don’t-suck-that-bad.
And here’s another gimme for you. You know what I’m putting on the table tonight? A box of cereal and a handful of cheese sticks. Just one more thing for the kids to discuss with their therapists someday.
“And put the dishes in the dishwasher when you’re done, too, you ungrateful little gluttons. You’ve got no maid here, either.”
Bon appétit.

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