I set out to write about life and I find myself writing about food. I set out to live, and I find myself at the table. An orange is peeled. Something brews. Something stews. I can’t tear myself away.
In his book Cooked (which is not perfect*, but is useful), Michael Pollan suggests that- in a very literal, evolutionary way- cooking is what makes us human. I know nothing about that. But I know that I can’t seem to untangle myself from eating, from feeding. I don’t think any of us can.
I grew up in a time and a place where everyone seemed half-bent on starving themselves. Not least of all me. I can’t think of many surer ways to say no to this world and to life. I can’t think of any ways to be less generous with yourself. Or less affectionate.
We sit at the table with music, Margot and Helen filtering in as they wake from their naps. Reed gets up to build something on the floor, and I take another apple from the bowl. And for a while there is peace in the world and affection and good-will.
We sit at the table, feeding ourselves, feeding each other. I am glad to be a cook and an eater and human.
*How many times do you need to use the word “Dionysian” in a cookbook?