I know a guy whose friend’s small child refers to him as “The Food Man.” This young boy also refers to another of his parents’ friends as “Uncle Muffintop,” but that’s another story.
One could nickname me “The Food Woman.” I love food, so much that I can never diet, fast, or cleanse for any meaningful length of time; I inevitably crawl back to the falafel sandwich with cucumbers and tomatoes, the baked tofu, the macaroni and vegan cheese, and the black bean burritos.
Much of my life has revolved around food. When am I going to go to lunch? What should I make for dinner this week? What new things do I want to try at the grocery store? When I went vegan, that only intensified. I had to think more critically about my food choices and be more careful with the grocery list I’d taken for granted. But I had fun planning my menus, going to specialty shops, and ordering vegan marshmallows and cheeses on the Internet. I also delighted in cooking new and complicated items: samosa twice-baked potatoes, homemade gnocchi, fondue, and couscous cake.
I even tend to become obsessed with certain food items. For a month in college, I ate only buttered toast — not because it was all I had or could afford, not because I was trying some kind of weird diet, but because I loved it. It started when I was sick for two weeks; buttered toast was really the only thing that sounded good. Once I was better, it was still the only thing that sounded good, so I pounded buttered toast three times a day until I felt like I was severely nutritionally (and fiber-ally) deficient.
I’m in a similar rut now, except, sadly, nothing sounds good. Sure, I get hungry, so I manage to choose something to eat despite having no opinions on my options, and frequently I like what I’ve chosen while I’m eating it. What concerns me is that the cravings I’ve dealt with and even enjoyed for most of my life seem to have all but disappeared. All that’s left is an occasional hankering for fried spring rolls, but even that’s on its way out. No amount of salt, sauce, or coconut frosting makes any vegetable, curry, or cake more appealing to me.
As someone who has long loved food, this is distressing to me. I just can’t get excited about my lunches (they might as well all be salad nowadays), my dinners (I have some frozen stuff, but who cares?), or my cooking in general (the fewer dishes I have to wash, the better).
The moral of the story: I need help. How do you pump yourself up about your food?