A funny thing happened in Paris: I went there in August, shortly after my last post, looking for food. I was down in the dumps and I figured some solid French meals would cheer me up.
Then, walking down a cobblestone side street in the Jewish Pletzl, I lost my appetite. I don’t just mean for the imminent meal (falafel, what else?) – but I lost my craving for the ‘next great meal’ in general. I considered the possibility that I was depressed. But I don’t think that’s it, exactly.
Rewind fifteen years: I’m sitting on a hand-me-down couch from my grandparent’s basement, in a city far away from home. I don’t own a cookbook, but I do own a TV. The TV is sitting on a cardboard box, draped in a scrap of cloth from the bargain bin. The cloth is brown with lighter brown stars. I have just been dumped by my boyfriend and it’s Friday night, so I am watching TV by myself.
But I have just made a bowl of the proverbial homemade chicken noodle soup, and each slurp calms my frazzled soul. So much so that when the budget allows it, I buy a set of good quality pots before a new couch or a TV stand.
And then came the cookbooks, dozens of them, hundreds of them. Phenomenal meals (if I do say so myself) came out of my kitchen. Men arrived. Men left, or more often were asked to leave, but the meals kept coming. Eventually one man, a truly wonderful man, arrived and stayed. He too likes my cooking.
I started writing about food, researching things like perogies and bacon with librarian-like meticulousness. For a time, I was obsessed with pearl barley.
Through phyllo dough and cheese fondue and roasted eggplants I set things right in my world – I added and subtracted and tinkered and stirred, and always came out with something tasty in the end.
But in August, something went really wrong, something too big to contain in a pot on my stove. And my need to tinker and stir, well, that evaporated, right along with my desire to write about it.
It really happened in an instant, right on that side street in Paris. Poof! I plunked down on a stoop, cried a bit as passersby averted their eyes, then I went and ambivalently ate a falafel.
In the four months since then, I have thought a lot about my relationship with food, and I have come up with some ideas. Ideas which, in my mind, are too private and precious to write about in bite-sized snippets on a blog.
So I thank you, sincerely, for joining me for appetizers over the past two years. And for your tremendous and unexpected support. I’m done here for now, but I do hope you’ll join me for the main course, which should be ready to eat in a couple of years.