In the four years I have been accommodating the diagnosis, treatment, recovery, recurrence, collateral damage, relationship changes, financial collapse and changed identity associated with cancer, I have thought a lot about the position I have given food in my life. I have some observations to make based on some wide reading and my own experience of cooking, sharing and eating food. So I have asked the question "Why is food so important?" because I want to give my answer. Fair enough? And the topic of 'food' always gets peoples' attention. Doesn't it? I have to stop now because it has just been made clear to me - in subtle ways designed for me alone - that it is my turn to do the shopping, and domestic harmony is crucial. See what I mean? I will be back later on today. If there are replies by then that would be great as the topic is one we all share regardless of what I write. Don't we? H
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Occasional Contributor
Hi Harker, Food, it is enjoyment to place something delicious - even a bit naughty - in your mouth and savour it. Cooking food can either be a chore or a joy, I don't do as much at the moment, as my partner has found his favourite recipes and cooks them more than I do, I sometimes miss cooking, but sometimes enjoy the freedom that I have when I don't have to cook. Shopping, now that's the fun bit as well, deciding what to have during the week and after buying the necessary items, the odd titbit somehow finds its way into the shopping trolley. You get called to the pantry when your stomach starts complaing that it's hungry, and of course, some medicines make that even worse. The hard bit is finding things that are yummy but not "bad" for you, as most yummy things are usually bad for cholesterol or sugar and then you feel guilty for consuming them, what a pity. How's that for a reply harker? Hope it gets some more comments moving, Craftyone
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Frequent Contributor
Well I am back. After six months or so of chemotherapy and other interventions I developed an urge to cook, cure, preserve and share food. I started to read about food for the first time in my life. Some of the good food writers like Stephanie Alexander and Marcella Hazan have a way with words as well as with ingredients. I liked reading them very much. I did classes on making tomato sauce and sausages. I learned how to cure olives and how to turn extremely fatty belly pork into pancetta. Quince paste was next and then lemons. The pantry is now full of my jars of all this preserved food. Why do I do it? I talkeed about this with a therapist a couple fo years ago and we agreed that I was fascinated by the very idea of preserving nutrition for later use. At the time I had no immune system and little sense of being healthy at all. Cooking and preserving was a way for me to feel healthy. I read about food science and the sociology of food. A wonderful text is Feast: Why People Share Food by Martin Jones. He is an archaeologist who has turned his skills to exploring the nature of human eating. For example, he points out that humans are the only species that will eat with strangers and the only species that will make eye contact when eating. This suggest to Jones that sharing food is a social ritual as much as a biological one. I also read Michael Pollan and Paul Roberts about the changing nature of food production. Pollan says we should eat food, not things that are manufactured to look like food. I love being in a kitchen and starting off on something. It is an activity that makes me feel healthy. I relax immediately and zone off from other preoccupations. I am looking forward to 'tomato day' with my daughters because it is a busy, fun day with lots of food and lots of bottles of passata stacked away for the next year. I still have about twenty jars from last year's preserving and the next lot will be done in March. Better get going on Italian. When I did the tomato sauce class the mama who instructed us made a point of saying to us: "Don't fold your arms when you are cooking, it blocks the love". How good is that. That comment is one reason I have a soft spot for Italian cooking. Similarly, Marcella Hazan says that Italian food is built from the bottom up, ie. olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, then the tomato, wine, stock, etc on top. The sauces tend to come from within the dish and are not made separately as much as, for example, in French food. That is partly why I love Italian so much. It is a gut feel replicated in a pot, warming and communicating. It screams to be shared. Beats the hell out thinking about cancer. H
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Regular Contributor
Food - brilliant Harker. Arguably my favourite topic and paradoxically my ultimate downfall. I grew up surrounded by meals, always with dessert, with my family around the kitchen table and my older brother would constantly ask"are you going to eat all that". Consequently I learned to eat effectively from quite a young age. I am not a great meat cook but I have found my forte in desserts and baking. My younger son has also involved himself in this and makes mean profiteroles from scratch. My husband makes wonderful curries and my eldest son cooks in order to survive! Craftyone, how true it is to find the yummy comfort food that isn't bad for you! While I love fruit, I am delighted if it morphs into berry and apple crumble with homemade vanilla icecream. Harker, I haven't done any reading but I too am facinated by the sociology of food. It brings us together in times of celebration and of grief and can determine our moods to some extent. I agree so much better than chatting about cancer around the bbq table. thanks for bringing this to us. enjoy the tomato day. Samex
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Hi Harker, Let me tell u that before I was diagnosed, food was one of the most imprtant things to me,lol. Now it is a measns to an end, also i enjoy breathing in the aromas cooking to me is such a chore and I suppos that comes from being a Head & Necker, Just thought that I better through in an opinion from my perspective, but by no means am I trying to ruin the fun, keep them coming,hahaha Dave
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