Many of my jeans no longer fit me. I have only one pair of slacks – at least 15 years old – that I can wear, and that is because of its elastic, expandable waist- band. None of my suits fit, and many of my shirts can just about be buttoned around my expanded mid-section. I cringe at what I see when I look in the mirror, and every night I lie in bed vowing that I can do and I will do, whatever it takes to lose this uncomfortable, and unsightly belly. And everyday, as lunchtime approaches with the first pangs of hunger, I completely disown that vow. Did I make a vow? What vow? That must have been someone else getting in my head.
I love food and I love eating. I enjoy the flavors of my favorite foods, and the goal of abolishing hunger is quickly replaced by the desire to maximize the pleasure for my taste buds. This experience plays out every day, at every meal, whether I’m eating alone, with Patience, or with others.
Food nurtures the soul as well as the body. Growing up in a family and community of immigrants and first generation Italian-Americans I learned that all social interactions – gatherings of family and/or friends, weddings, funerals, and casual impromptu get-togethers - all centered around food. It could be as simple as coffee and pastry or as elegant as a full course meal, but the sharing of food and the kitchen or dinning room table was inexorably linked to the interaction of family and friends.
So now, in my battle with the expanding waist line, I not only have to overcome the sensual attraction of wonderful flavors, but also a cultural heritage that has stained the fibers of my being. And that’s not all!
The aromas of the kitchen – garlic sautéing in olive oil, basil, oregano, and Parmigianino cheese – all evoke memories of my mother’s kitchen and her wonderful cooking. And it is impossible for me to sit before a plate of pasta and not remember my father. Cooking and eating has become an important link to my past and to my parents. Whether it is the satisfaction of preparing a simple dish of pasta with olive oil and garlic, or the small fruit glass of red wine at lunch, I am, for that brief moment, with my mother and father. I am what I am.
My weight…oh yea…well I can deal with that tomorrow.