Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learning How to Eat

I am rural, Southern, and slow to catch on.

But no one ever had to teach me how to eat.

Back in the winter a book rep gave me a copy of EAT, PRAY, LOVE, and I threw it down in disgust when the protagonist had to go to Italy in order to learn how to eat. Hey, I know the food in Italy is incredible, but she was from NEW YORK. They have really good food there, too.

I would not bring this topic up, but this re-learning how to eat thing seems to be catching on. People suddenly 'forget' how to eat and have to be taught again. Forgetting how to eat has become the metaphor du jour for forgetting how to live life to its fullest, forgetting to be in the moment and enjoy it.

I can be in a really sad place in my life and still have a memorable food moment.

My earliest memory of a death in the family is when my uncle died. I was four. I remember the strawberry layer cake, four pink layers with the same pink shade of icing. In my mind, I see it sitting on the kitchen counter in my grandmother's kitchen. I envision it from the low perspective of a short 4 year old looking up at the cake. By the time I was 9 I had the recipe for that cake and had made it in a three-layer version. I still have the recipe for that strawberry cake and think about it each and every spring.

Everybody knows that in the South when somebody dies that the very best cooks dust off their very best recipes in order to minister to the suffering.

Just today I saw a blurb for Julianna Baggott's (under her writing name Bridget Asher) new novel THE PROVENCE CURE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED.

"An absorbing, beautifully written tale about life, death, love, food, and the magic of new possibilities." - J. Courtney Sullivan

Food and the magic of new possibilities.

Hmmmm. Bring it on.

Just so long as somebody hasn't forgotten how to eat in a place like New York City and has to be taught how to do it all over again.


Ray Clifton said...

If you forget how to eat, I promise I'll help you out. We'll head down Coosie way and get some real "soul" food. It will be an absorbing tale that we can both blog about.

Manda said...

Thank so so much for writing this. I finished Eat, Pray, Love, but I felt pretty much the same way about each chapter that you described about the first. If I ever forget how to eat, pray, or love, I hope it doesn't take a year of travel in a foreign country to relearn.

Carter Monroe said...

When the city of Chicago was recommended to me as a future domicile, I responded, "I can't live here. There's nothing to do and I'd starve to death."