Friday, December 28, 2012

"After a full belly, all is poetry......."

“Food is a gift and should be treated reverentially--romanced and ritualized and seasoned with memory.” ― Chris Bohjalian, Secrets of Eden

     Our family issued a challenge to each other in the coming year. Our collective resolution is aspiring to a healthy individual weight loss before our Thanksgiving feast of 2013. Those of us participating will officially begin our "deprivation" on January 2nd. The word "diet" has never been in my vocabulary. When my pants become too snug I do what is necessary but I don't diet. Gourmet chef, Julia Child once quipped, “The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” My family like most families in the world gather to celebrate holidays, birthdays or Bingo Night ( wink, wink ) with plenty of rich creamy comfort foods and sugary sweet confections. Moderation is key. Usually, when we try to deny ourselves a certain type of food the craving for that food intensifies. When we trust our bodies to tell us when it's full or tune in to the nutrients our body needs, healthy eating habits develop. When we crave calcium we drink milk or eat yogurt and cheese (or a Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait). When we crave vitamin C we eat oranges, apples and broccoli. Unless, you are my younger brother who refuses to eat any vegetable he can't hide in his socks and throw in the toilet later. Okay, in all fairness that was when our parents served us mixed vegetables with lima beans. Does my body need to eat an entire box of Cheddar Jack Cheez-It crackers every other day? Well of course not. But you get my point.

      Another reason my family enjoys food so much is because most of them are damn excellent cooks. Cooking is an art. Some of us are Rembrandt others are only capable of stick figures. It has been a privilege and my good fortune to taste and savor the divine creations of time consuming, utterly delicious cuisine. These scrumptious recipes have been prepared lovingly sprinkled with attention to detail and with more than a dash of happiness by my sisters, brothers, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, step-mother, nieces and nephews. Eating a meal together is not only sharing our abundance but also sharing conversation, our history, laughter and most importantly our gratitude. As consumers we live in a society where we shop at twenty-four hour grocery stores or have fast food handed to us from a drive-thru window. Are we really taking the time to truly enjoy our food? Are we mindful? We are so fortunate to have what we have. Savor it. Yes, my family is doing this for each other so we can add life to our years. There will be exercise, walking, dancing, push ups but no running! I like having my pants fit but I love my sister Laurie's homemade pizza even more. A toast to the coming year with moderation and a little reminder : "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live, Live, Live!" - Auntie Mame