In these first few days of the new year as I've been reflecting on 2011, my thoughts often return to the choices that we've made about food and how we nourish ourselves. Last night Steve and I dined on a rutabaga soup with a side salad of watercress, celery root, and grapefruit (I'm loving Lucid Food right now). Both dishes were delicious and neither of them would have flown in our house a short three or four years ago. Steve and I probably would have tried them and enjoyed them if someone prepared them for us, but they wouldn't have been something that we would have chosen to make for ourselves. Now, they have gone on the permanent menu rotation list.
It's been surprising to me how much of a journey eating has been. I didn't have a set goal when I started to shift from pre-packaged to home-cooked meals; only vague notions that I wanted to eat "healthier," have more control over what was going into my body, and I wanted to create less waste by buying things that used less packaging. My culinary knowledge was (and still is, in many ways) so very lacking. I slavishly followed recipes because I really didn't know what else to do. I'm glad that I did, though, because doing so has finally, three years later, given me the experience to begin to make additions and substitutions with a little bit of an idea of how it might turn out.
Food is fun for us, as I think it should be. Cooking was a big part of Steve and my courtship and it remains an important part of how we reconnect every day. The warm glow of the kitchen provides a stage where I chop onions and carrots while he stirs the garlic in the pan and we talk about our day, its ups and its downs. He puts a hand on the small of my back and we look each other in the eye as we talk about the upcoming meal, whether it's an old favorite or a new adventure. The favorites provide a link to the past as we talk about the times that we've eaten it before and the remembering extends to what our life was like in those moments: Do you remember when? Wasn't it funny how...? How could we forget...? The whole experience is so much more present than the pop-a-pizza-in-the-oven-eat-in-front-of-the-TV experience of our meals past. Although, to be fair, we do still eat in front of the TV a fair amount. We'll blame it on exhaustion.