Food is fun

betty ming liu Food 10 Comments

Remember when my daughter went away to camp in early July? And how I was home alone trying to find new things to look forward to? Well, with the kid outta the house, my daily treats were most often about food.

This is the beginning of a process raised in my earlier post: “Can I be more than Mommy?” In other words, can I manage to have a life not centered around Gabi, because she’ll be going away to college next year?

Having her at camp gave me a chance to imagine what that scenario would be like. I decided to give myself a staycation, and did my best to get out and about. Here are the highlights: took a few days off from work to attend a drawing class five nights in a row, shopped for art supplies twice, went to bed at 9 p.m. twice, caught up with five different friends over five different delicious restaurant meals, planted flowers on my deck, took myself to the movies, took myself to a street fair.

But I am one of those moms who spent a lot of time cooking and feeding people — and thoroughly enjoying it. If you saw the full list of my treats during those 15 days Gabi was away at camp, almost all the items involved food. Every get-together with a friend was over a meal. At the movies, I had to have popcorn. There was a lot of food shopping food; this has always been a huge mommy activity for me.

So during my staycation, it felt perfectly natural to be wandering around Manhattan’s Union Square Greenmarket, where I found the best fresh fava beans. I shelled them from their pods, then cooked them in a little olive oil and sea salt. The bean casing aren’t meant to be eaten but these were so tender that I scarfed down everything.

My mom taught me about fava beans, one of our happy foods. We were always eating — and I was always five to 10 pounds overweight. With food as an extension of all our emotions, we found reasons to eat whenever we were in a good mood, depressed, bored, angry…

Is it any wonder that I’m always gravitating to food? It happened the other day when I went to that street fair, in the adorable village of Nyack, N.Y. There were tons of vendors with jewelry, crafts and clothes. To fortify myself during the stroll, I stopped at the Runcible Spoon Bakery, where I abandoned my gluten-free regimen for the muffin of my dreams, covered in cinnamon sugar, filled with dense layers of buttery, croissant-like swirls.

Chomping and strolling, I was next mesmerized by a vendor doing a demo of her Zena stainless steel veggie peelers. They were amazing and quite affordable at three for $20. Now I use them nearly every day in my kitchen.

I did manage to find one captivating non-food item. Vintage-looking aprons for bottles, at $4 each. How did I manage to live without them?

Hmm, where does this leave me? Gabi is back home now, dividing her time between eating out with friends and having some meals at home. The trick for me is getting used to cooking for one on a more regular basis. Hopefully, this will turn into another delicious  journey. So far, so good.   :)

Comments 10

  1. Post

    Asianmommy, the aprons made me laugh when I saw them! My contact lens solution bottle is all dressed up and the body lotion bottle has gone frilly pink. Trying to figure out who gets the last apron…

  2. The aprons are so cute!
    I think this is a learning post. I understand that all of the treats you gave yourself had to do with food at some point, before or after, but there’s more going on here. I think you are learning that there is a whole life apart from being Mommy and that you can be fulfilled while your daughter is away doing her own thing. You made time to catch up with others and you did things just for yourself. Sure, you’ve got to eat to survive, but I think you are getting the hang of the balancing act of the food treats in company with the living treats. A week of art, friends and fairs…not too shabby. I laughed at the pic of the muffin, though:) If the muffin shows up every now and then and doesn’t alter all the hard work you’ve put in health-wise, you’ll be okay.

    I found it interesting that you and your mom, and then you as a mom are so used to having food around or feeding others. I think this has an underlying message of your need to be pleased and satisfied and do the same for others. I know you have many othe ways to feel this way without food, too. Now is your time to explore. Maybe on a day you are not working (and if suitable for your health), consider fasting as a challenge for a day and see what you would replace the time with. Would you go swimming instead of breakfast or finish a painting instead of lunch?

  3. Hi Betty!
    This was another of your great posts on your blog. I liked the Veggie Peelers and aprons for bottles I’ve never seen that before lol.. It’s nice you have Gabi back to enjoy the rest of the summer with you too. Food brings pleasure to me as well I know exactly what you meant when you mentioned how food and emotions can be connected together so true! Your page is such a positive one and it’s a pleasure coming here have a great day/night as it depends on when you’re reading this lol :-)

  4. Post

    Skye, maybe you should consider being my next shrink. I appreciate your gentle insights in addressing my lifetime practice of using food as a form of self-medication. Yes, yes, would definitely want to build in more activities that are food-free! But as you point out, I’ve gotta do this bird by bird, snack by snack, muffin by muffin. Thanks for taking the time to comfort me. :)

    And Walter! How nice of you to drop by. I’m glad everyone likes the apron covers. Every time I look at the bottles sitting on my bathroom vanity, I start to laugh.

  5. Betty,
    Those bottle aprons look like something they would make in relief-society (an LDS women’s group). It is kind of odd, but I spent some time Sunday on yahoo sharing a half a dozzen potato recipies with a woman in the phillipines!! These were from my copy of “With Love From Grandma’s Kitchen”, an 82 page book of Grandmother’s recipies my mother collected, bound and distributed to the family. There are two to three recipies per page along with pictures.
    Maybe should cosider making a cook-book someday! Does Gabi have any experiences with ‘camp cooking’ to share? i remember in Boy Scouts we learned how to find and cook food (either that or go hungry for a week) I bet you can’t wait to share her camp experience. Where did she go? Did it involve wilderness or backpacking? We did some pretty wild stuff but we were boys.
    Like the time we went winter camping and built a jump over the road. We got up there and discovered that all of our tubes had holes in them but one. Then one of the Scouts shot a hole in the only tube in mid-air while another was jumping the road! One sure way to be hated!

  6. Post

    Brian, there’s no end to the people we can connect with online and offline. That’s thought makes me happy. When my baby was in Brownies and Girl Scouts, we learned all about s’mores. I would like to do a vegan of healthy cookbook someday. :0

  7. I just opened a jar of carots i pickled a few years back (2000 hope they are still good) Wow they turned out sweet and spicy. I am not sure what I sued to pickle them but the turned out sweet. Hope the don’t me me sick but I doubt they will. I think I want to try pickling some eggs next.

  8. Pingback: Giving thanks: you helped my kid’s video to win! | betty ming liu

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