45 Things I Learned... 8

Sunday, January 22, 2023

As a child, I gave my mother quite a headache with food. I would argue that it didn't look or even sound tasty just to avoid eating something that did not appeal to me. In my defense, some sounds in Arabic are really heavy on the ears and just give me the image of a dancing elephant in a porcelain room 🤷🏻‍♀️ I don't think anyone would have the courage to eat that! Besides, my relationship with food was quite particular back then: I ate just to stay alive and could very well forget about this "menial human need" when immersed in a good book or anything interesting enough for my brain. It wasn't till I met my best friend that my attitude toward food started to change. First, I went along to the food shops near our university. Then one day, I tried a sandwich. It wasn't a fancy one but I sort of was hooked. You see, I rarely have breakfast and we had had an incredibly long day. So between being up at 4:30 am, doing my morning sports routine at home, attending the different courses, and researching at the library, I hadn't eaten in the past 17 hours or so. My stomach was giving me signs it required nutrients and the combination of juicy chicken grilled bits and avocado and greens, oh, and the sauce, was simply yummilicious to my hungry tummy. That's how my brain shifted over the next few months from edibles are just something needed to stay alive to food being a pure joy to the senses!

Fast forward about fifteen years. I'm back in Lebanon. My best friend and I do not live in the same country anymore. Nevertheless, we keep in touch and I let her convince me to prepare my own food from time to time. My parents still believe I would starve if no one cooked something for me. Although I do sometimes experiment in their kitchen, they have come to accept this occupation is not a preferred one in my eyes. I'd rather read or do some brain work rather than spend an hour in the kitchen only to consume my concoction within 15 minutes. I preferred to check concept restaurants to review the food, the service, and the general ambiance. A few years ago, since I had already moved into my home, my best friend pressed me so much on starting with the baking that I gave in and also started writing about my try-outs online. And I just recalled a funny moment that happened a few years before me baking and making food like no time before. I was scouting for a new restaurant to try out with the guy I was dating. I'm not sure what got into me or what was on my mind: I told the waiter when he came to take our order that we would like to start with the dessert, then have the main course served please, and that we would end our late lunch with some appetizers. That waiter was indeed well-trained. His eyes showed that he was taken aback, and yet he didn't show it otherwise. I don't remember what we ate that day, except that the experiment was fun, not ordinary, and that the food was delectable.

Some favorite food quotes and sayings:

Laughter is brightest where food is best - Irish proverb

Food is our common ground, a universal experience - James Beard

Good food is very often, even most often, simple food - Anthony Bourdain

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well - Virginia Wolf

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul - Dorothy Day

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world - J.R.R. Tolkien

In conclusion, I would just add that food, which didn't mean much to me as a child, became one of life's little pleasures I indulge in as often as I can. What about you?

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