04 April 2011

A Love Affair (With Food)

I have a love affair with food. Cheeses, breads, pastas, delicious sauces.....mmmmmmm. And fortunately for me, I love to cook. But last year, when I was pregnant, I couldn't even get up to go in the kitchen. It was a bummer, I'll admit. Enter my sweet, devoted, adventurous husband. He liked to cool, but he didn't love it. Until he got started, and picked up a Mark Bittman cookbook.

And suddenly, it was magic. Everyday there was fresh bread (sometimes twice a day). Not bread from a breadmaker, mind you; that would be cheating. Hand kneaded, crusty, perfectly shaped bread. And sauces to dip it in. And made from scratch meatballs served with marinara that had been cooking all day (with veggies from the local market just up the street). And cheesecakes and poundcakes and flatbreads and lemon-ricotta pancakes and things with garlic and capers and all-day bolognese sauces and alfredo sauces and......mmmmmmmmm. It's a good thing I was under doctor's order to triple my daily calorie intake to help the baby grow - hubs made that easy to do!

In the process he instilled in our daughter a love of food and a level of confidence she didn't have before. I know very few five-year-olds that know their way around Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table like mine does. Or any that ask for cook's tools and bowls for Christmas. She owns more aprons than I do, and although she's sometime hesitant to try what she's prepared, she knows a good chef always tests the food. Watching them together, cracking eggs and dropping them on the floor, spilling too much flour on the counter, adding too much orange zest to the the chocolate cake batter...I've never loved two people so much. Him for his infinite patience with her, and her for her boundless energy and spirit.

Food can really bring people together. Thankfully, in the 10 months since our son has been born and we've been consciously attempting to lose the weight I gained while pregnant, we have not given up our love of cooking. Rather, we've turned it into a way of life. We are all healthier for making our own pizzas from scratch as opposed to buying them frozen, and hosting a "salad bar night" once a week in our kitchen. I love that my daughter asks for MORE vegetables at every meal. We embarked on a culinary journey together, only we didn't know it. And I'm so proud to say that I've lost almost 85 pounds since he was born, and my husband has lost close to 60. Not bad, huh?

I recently read Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, and I was so tickled at how food played a role in her relationship with her boyfriend (and later husband). Food can be so pivotal, can't it?

**This post was inspired by Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris, which I received for free as part of the book club From Left to Write. Other than a free copy of the book, I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.**

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