You may recall from childhood the story of Rumplestiltskin, the nasty little man who was able to spin straw into gold. Consider me to be Annie, the woman who can turn food into straw. Or worse.
This is meant to be a “food blog,” one of the millions of its kind that fill the interworld to bursting with descriptions of golden, spatchcocked chickens, gluten-free macaroni and cheese, and (in my case) low-carb dishes that can make one forget that he or she will never, ever eat another french fry. To keep myself in blogging trim over the years, I have watched everything from “Top Chef” to “Good Eats,” read every magazine that contains a recipe, and kept a pile of cook books next to my bed just because it was a delight to learn how to preserve lemons before drifting off to dream of elegant tagines full of cous cous and raisins. It has been part of my “day job,” and a great joy to me to peruse the Great Food Blogs, and to feverishly bookmark anything I might ever consider cooking, no matter how unlikely it is that my family will eat lamb curry or bacon ice cream.
For right now, the love affair is over. I don’t honestly know whether it’s my ongoing battle with my left hip and leg, the huge amount of medicine I’m taking to control pain, or the vague (and exceedingly) unattractive depression that accompanies the inability to drive, concentrate, or do much of anything without a little help from my friends. I do not want to eat anything. Nothing at all. I am, as I write, forcing myself to consume a big, sweet, juicy Honeycrisp apple. If it’s sending me over the moon, it’s a slow launch.
Last night I tried to make a meatloaf (since other people around here are still hungry and expect regular meals) but the damned thing just wouldn’t cook. I have made thousands of meatloafs (meatloaves?) in my life, but this one, after an hour at 350, then half an hour at 375, then 10 minutes under the broiler, still looked like something from a CSI crime scene. I’ve lost my touch. Worst of all, although I felt bad for the folks who had to make do with the (relatively) cooked ends of the Victim Loaf, I just didn’t care.
I have tried several self-help measures to set this thing right. First, I told myself that since I’m not eating much, I could probably get away with eating something verboten, say, a plate of chili cheese fries or a box of eclairs. This possibly didn’t even create a ripple of titillation. I mean, if you show up at my door with the chili cheese fries I’d be grateful and eat a few (and I wouldn’t even complain about the fact thatthey were now cold), but I don’t see myself going into guilty raptures. Next, I tried reading a Ming Tsai cook book a friend gave me, and all I could think about was that it all sounded like a lot of work, and who on earth would stand around crimping wonton wrappers? Finally, I watched food TV again. I lasted 10 minutes before switching from Christopher Kimball talking about the best kind of baking chocolate to QVC selling some kind of ridiculous coat hanger thingies. It was a fail on all counts.
[Lest you should imagine that I am getting the side benefit of wasting away to a sample-sized waif, let me remind you that I am also not moving much. I get up and walk around because I was told to do so, but I am barely able to get up the stairs without clinging to the banisters as if I were approaching the summit of Kilimanjaro in my fur-lined parka].
So here’s the thing: I’m not really cooking, I’m not really eating, and for this particular historical interval, I don’t care about any of it. I do, on the other hand, want to keep blogging – my mind still works, more or less, and the world is full of interesting things that are not sauteed, baked, locally grown, filleted, minced, or bathed in a sherry reduction. I am too grumpy to figure out how to put an actual poll thingie in this post, but I need to know if you still want me. If all I do is monitor Rachel Zoe Project message boards, read Japanese novels about misunderstood loners who fall on their respective swords, and download sad, French pop music from iTunes all day long, do you still want to hear from me?
Or should I wait until the day when I awake, spatula in hand, all atwitter about the possibility of roasted vegetable soup?
Hint: a good answer would be “keep writing; we don’t care what you write about. Just eat the other half of the damned apple and stop feeling sorry for yourself.”