I did not realize how bad we had gotten with our eating habits. My error wasn’t exactly what I was eating (I’ve been on a pretty health conscious diet for a while now), but the fact that I was only cooking and eating by myself. My man wanted nothing to do with “vegetarian food” and preferred to eat his frozen chicken strips and eggs and chips and sausage to sharing with me. (For the record, I am not a vegetarian, I just prefer to eat meatless during the week and indulge in some medium-rare goodness on the weekends). Due to our work schedules, we ate at different times, normally on the go.
Everything changed a few weeks ago when my man started complaining of severe chest pains, which resulted in a trip to the ER, countless tests, an eventual transfer to another hospital, and the final conclusion, bypass surgery was a necessity. He had four major blockages, two of which were 90% and 100% blocked.
We got lucky. Real. Damned. Lucky.
During my hours of pacing around the surgery waiting room, I went down my list of things that had to change as soon as we got him home. And of everything on that list, the biggest obstacle was figuring out meals. He still ate lots of high cholesterol, processed foods. There was no way I would get him to eat meatless with me all week. But at the same time, I wouldn’t mind a little more meat in my diet if we had healthier meat in the house, like chicken, fish and shrimp. I can walk to the Intercoastal Waterway from my house, for heavens sake, fresh fish is easy to come by.
So I decided to suggest a compromise. I’ll give and let a little more meat in, as long as it was more healthy meats for the majority of the time, if he would agree to lay off the processed foods and the high cholesterol foods. I promised I would scour for recipes to keep things yummy and exciting and I would do all the prep work, as long as he would help me with the grilling, because he and I both know he’s pretty proprietary about the grill.
He agreed. And so far, it’s been great!
I didn’t realize how much I missed planning meals together, and cooking together and sharing dinner. Dinner time is an adventure again, experimenting with new ingredients and flavors, making decisions together, instead of just doing what is individually convenient. Not to mention the added challenge of keeping things within the dietary requirements and still maintaining flavor.
Like so many other things in life, we had let other obligations and routines get in the way of our meal time together. And as stressful and worrisome as the last few weeks have been, I am glad that this positive has come out of everything and we could remember what was important. Food is not just about physical nutrition, but is nutrition for the soul as well. To eat together is to be together and to share together.
In response to Tues Truthiness: Culinary Culture