A while ago, I alluded to a post wherein I'd discuss my ambivalence about cooking. Of course, it isn't ambivalence about cooking - or even about eating - but about getting totally carried away by the joy of creative, delicious food and getting fat. Note: I'm not even dead set against that model, that's how fun it is...
I know it's quite un-PC to imply, much less state clearly, that the only reason I don't want to eat everything in sight (or at least everything that I cook) is because I want to be slim by my own standards. But y'all who've been reading me for a couple of years (yes, it has been that long) know that, for quite a while after having my daughter, I was rather unhealthy and less svelte than I am now. Or than I was before I started cooking, at any rate :-)
I developed a healthy relationship with my naturopath - and rekindled one with nutrition via my food diary (a decade-long, on-again / off-again friend) and it's been good times ever since.
However, lest you doubt this, I am a hedonist from way back. I LOVE excess, debauchery, overdoing it. I get this from my father - who should be nicknamed Bacchus - a guy who thinks that one delicious, creamy thing is only improved by 3 more. My father embodies American joie-de-vivre, in my opinion. Send him out for some milk and you get 3 quarts, plus heavy cream and a pizza thrown in for good measure. It's always intriguing to see what he'll come back from the store with.
I love the mouth-feel of well-made pastry, the umami of perfectly-grilled beef, the painful sweet/saltiness of fleur-de-sel caramel, the berry and hay notes of good wine, the earthiness of mushrooms, the tart of apples tempered by vanilla (ok, vanilla ice cream, if you must). And just as much, as I've stated before, I love starting with nothing and developing something alchemic and profound i.e. culinary experimentation.
I don't want to seem obnoxious here. I want to explain how hard it is, on the one hand, to love cooking so much that I could spend all day doing it (lord knows, I spend all weekend) and on the other hand, to care about fitting into lovely clothes (another passion) and feel good about looking at my stomach in the mirror.
Egad, the bourgeois challenges which, daily, I stare squarely in the eye.
I don't have an answer for you yet. What I can say is that, despite inevitably loathing the outcome, I continue to track the calorie counts of my "art". And then, to the best of my ability, I eat 3 bites (which still amounts to rather a lot of damage, and I use this word loosely) and wait for the next meal.
Pls. don't assume that I'm one of those quasi-eating disordered counters. I recognize, after years of being me, that I experience homeostasis at a certain intake vs. output. Trust me, I eat the absolute maximum number of calories I can possibly justify while attempting to ensure that I'll continue to fit into my (rather expensive, all things considered) wardrobe. It ain't easy being a woman approaching 40 who freakin' lives to eat. And my diet is varied and healthy - maybe too much so! - not in any way limited by food group or type.
And yet, beautiful food seems so costly...
Par exemple: A serving of boeuf bourgignon (Julia Child's recipe divided by 7, no starch) has 500 calories. A glass of wine (5 oz) has 125. A small piece of pumpkin pie has 300 calories.
That's most of the suggested daily calorie intake for a woman of my size and shape (which by the way, I think is generous and does not take the uniqueness of metabolism into account). And it's not exactly beyond filling. Even for one meal.
Nonetheless, life is long peeps (if we're lucky) and things change. We change. Life changes. I have so much more time and energy now than I did throughout the last decade. As we know, the years of early parenting were not kind to K. But my forties - I'm feeling optimistic about having space and passion and joy for things. This is good.
I'm going to return to this topic as I come to conclusions about the best way to find balance. Of course, as with every life experience, it's about balance. That's tough for the excessives of this world, and yet it's an exercise in self-awareness.
I can't be the only one to face this conundrum. Pls. share your thoughts. Do you struggle with this too? Let's talk, shall we?