If my kitchen sink were writing this, it would tattle. “She eats sitting down, yeah … at her desk sometimes when she’s writing. Or in her rocking chair, plate in her lap, fork in one hand, book or, worse, cellphone in the other.”
“Sometimes she eats sitting in me too,” Car chimes in. “She had a double-decker taco the other day. Cheesy. I was left holding the bag.”
“She ate lunch with me today,” Table offers. “On one of her grandmother’s Currier & Ives plates. With silverware and a cloth placemat.”
“She eats standing up too,” Sink continues. “Every time she brings home a rotisserie chicken, she tears off its right leg, leans over me and gnaws it to the bone. Bare-handed! Barbarian! She ate a peach there today, dripping juice on me. And hard-boiled eggs—she actually walks from room to room eating those.”
“Chicken, peach, eggs—those are all good foods,” Fridge pipes up.
Sink cocks an eyebrow. “There’s a potato chip bag in the trash under me.”
“There are sugar snap peas in me,” Fridge counters. “And pickles. And she’ll tell you herself they have a more satisfying crunch.”
“I think she’s planning dinner with me,” Table says. “Rice and sautéed vegetables and fruit salad—”
“Which is chilling in me right now,” Fridge blurts.
Table waits for quiet. “I like it when she brings a book. She takes her time.”
“I just hope,” says Sink, who likes to have the last word, “she cleans it all up before she goes to bed.”
Assessments and exercise can be put off. Heart-to-heart connections and fun might not be on the daily menu. Habits take time to develop. Of all the topics in this self-care series, eating is different.
Our bodies are designed to need regular refueling. Hunger is stingy with deadline extensions. Each day requires decisions about eating: What, when, where, and how much, in both quantity and cost. Sometimes it’s a chore. (I know what it’s like to dread eating, to have to force something in when I have neither interest nor appetite.)
Our bodies are also designed to enjoy food with our senses, and our planet provides so much to choose from. Sometimes it’s the greatest pleasure of the day. (If I look a shade cyanotic lately, it’s not lack of oxygen but those daily blueberries.)
I know “eat good food” means something different for the mom feeding six children on a single income; the widow eating on paper plates in front of the TV; my friend who can’t eat meat any more because of a tick bite; friends who can’t abide gluten or dairy; folk with seemingly limitless income and folk who raise as much of their food as they can. I know it is meaningless for the friend who currently can’t eat anything at all. But I do know what it has come to mean for me: in a word, hospitality.
- If I wouldn’t serve it to someone else, don’t serve it to myself.
- At least once a week, take time to cook slow. Chop. Saute. Make something up with what I have on hand.
- Eat some fruit every day, and take advantage of fruit in season.
- Don’t be swayed by merely perceived peer pressure. If everyone else is choosing the cheeseburger, and my body is chanting the salmon, the salmon, the salmon, and I can afford the salmon, order the salmon.
- Keep a real plate and a real bowl and real silverware at work for the days I eat at my desk.
- Set the table for myself as if I were setting it for a guest. Placemat, silverware, a linen napkin.
- Once in a while, go ahead and have the hamburger. But however savory it might be, savor the people at the table more.
You’re invited to join us as we write our way through this self-care series. You can find the list of prompts and publication dates here. Have something to say? Please join us. Simply drop a link to your blog in a comment on the corresponding post at any time.
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