Food. The love of food. It’s why I ended up under the knife having bariatric surgery – my love of food was destroying my body.
I ate for the sheer joy of eating; I loved the taste, smell, texture, and satisfaction that food gave me. I still love those things, but I’m learning a different way to relate to them. I have learned to savor food.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but now, it’s more than just a means to an end. I have slowed down the process and I enjoy each step along the way. For example, if the recipe calls for orange segments, I notice the juicy zest spraying out from the peel as I peel the orange; I enjoy the fresh scent of citrus filling my nostrils; I get excited when the white pith peels away easily instead of clinging to the orange for dear life, etc.
I especially enjoy cooking along with someone by my side, usually my son. We’ve gained a love to try new recipes and experimenting with ingredients we are not familiar with.
One example is the lowly leek. We’ve discovered an awesome pizza recipe together -he makes the best pizza crust I’ve ever tasted! The sauce is just a basic tomato sauce with basil, oregano and such mixed in; but, the main topping ingredient is leeks! We were like, “what’s a leek???” Luckily, the recipe came with a beautiful picture of the finished pizza, which sparked our desire to give it a try.
We discovered that a leek looks like a giant green onion, has a mild oniony flavor, and you do not use the tough, green part (at least not for pizza). We also learned that because of the way leeks grow, they get grit/dirt all throughout its layers, so it’s important to wash it thoroughly.
So, after cleaning them, we sliced them and sautéed the leeks in a little bit of olive oil and placed them on top of the pizza, along with fresh mozzarella cheese. Wow! I couldn’t BELIEVE how delicious it was.
I think it was the first time I savored a piece of pizza rather than just devouring it. As I look back, it was probably the best piece of pizza I’ve ever had. Not just because it tasted good. But, I have fun memories of making the crust with my son, waiting for it to rise, smelling the yeast, rolling it out, chopping basil, slicing and sautéing the leeks, smelling the wonderful aromas coming together……it was an entirely new and positive way to enjoy my food. It’s a much more fulfilling way of enjoying food than I had before my surgery. There is truly something to that saying “stop and smell the roses”, and it’s become a new and wonderful way of life for me…and for my family.