I’m not sure if it was the five pounds I gained in the two days following that last batch of dulce de leche brownies, or the realization that my first inclination upon receiving distressing news– tsunami fallout, political unrest in Libya, Dmitri’s impending deployment (still more than a few months away, but stressful nonetheless), a friend’s really sick little girl–is to bake (and eat!) really bad-for-you foods, but it was suddently, startlingly clear that my favorite pastime was morphing into an uncotrollable beast with an insatiable appetite.
So as of today, I’m one week into a month-long, self-imposed baking moratorium. And, while giving up my last remaining vice (which is a total luxury, I know–this reality isn’t lost on me, especially in light of all that’s happening in the world) has been an unexpected struggle, it’s also forced me to examine some of my bad habits and my belief systems.
Like so many others, some of my best memories revolve around food: opening the tin full of divinity fudge my grandma sent us every year around Christmas; the Italian cream cake my dad loved so much; the meals my mom cooked for my high school friends every Thursday night; beer-and-pizza fests with my college roommates. But I know that it’s not about the food as much as it is about what the food stands for–comfort, and connection, and the in-the-moment feeling that, as long as there’s a meal and someone to share it with, everything’s going to be all right.
Yesterday morning, Lily and I shared a batch of cornmeal pancakes with bananas and blackberries, and last night, for dinner, the three of us ate veggie-packed homemade pizza (using a batch of this no-fail crust http://eatliverun.com/the-best-pizza-dough/ that I’ve been keeping in my freezer– soooo good). Because nothing took longer than ten minutes to throw together, I could actually spend a little extra totally-present time with my family instead of hiding out in the kitchen, trying to bake something complicated and impressive that might help them understand the depth of my love.
Since I wasn’t disctracted, or disconnected, or numb, I was able to remember why I love food so much: because it has the power to nourish, and comfort, and bring people together–even when it’s totally simple and not terribly pretty. And at the end of the day, that’s more than enough for me.