I feel like food is one of the most important things a human could even begin to feel grateful for having in his or her life...I even come to the point of worshipping food, and any food, even if I were talking about a small chipped piece of walnut found abandoned and stuck in the corner of a container...Is it normal for me to think of food this way?
When I get hungry, meaning in my definition if I haven't eaten in at least two hours, I become increasingly anxious and occasionally my heartbeat quickens as if I'm watching a very, very slow second-hand of a clock trying to push upward against gravity to reach past the last fragments of time for a boring science class to finish and to release me into the warm, open arms of freedom (not that I ever hated science class that much in high school, but when I talk about it as a simile to my hunger for food I feel like I detested it). And if I do find that food stands within my near reach, or in the comfort of my kitchen, I grab a small handful of walnuts or a bowl of berries and I am completely satisfied; I feel my entire body relax and back in its natural (and rightful) state as I munch slowly to take in every spark of taste that seems to appear in my imagination, and I can't help but automatically look forward to the next time that I can eat.
But if I see that food cannot be found close to me, I instantly panic and I feel detached from my mind and sanity, as my heartbeat quickens even more and I forget all the thoughts that preceded the thoughts I had about what I should eat.
I then lose all capacity to think of anything other than food--anything other than the possibility of allowing a spoon of vanilla frozen yogurt to melt on my tongue, or the familiar feeling of a warm stream of Starbucks chai latte flowing down my throat and into the very core of my inner peace and serenity. Nor can I throw out the luminous dream of hearing the light sizzles of a pan smothered in olive oil, as I make myself a cheese omelette while my ears are decorated by the soothing melodies of French music coming from my stereo near the kitchen.
If more and more time passes on of not eating food (perhaps because I have forgotten to bring food to a meeting where no snacks are served; or because I am sitting in Barnes & Noble that's right next to a Starbucks and I had already made up my mind that day that I won't spend any more money that week), I become convinced that the time is moving slower and slower almost to a stop. My frustration adds up and I can no longer breathe. And my mood begins to plummet as I become desperate even to the point of thinking I could munch on Starbucks napkins right now.
But once I start munching on those walnuts or start taking out the chilly low-fat yogurt, blueberries and the crunchy cereal from the cabinet and fridge to make myself a parfait, I am relieved and have come back to life. My sanity comes back to me like an old friend, and I tell it that it needs to work harder to stay with me the next time this disaster happens. I have pursued the seemingly-distant dream of satisfying my stomach and my inner being, and I am proud to have accomplished it.
Sometimes, I think about the scene in the adorable movie Something's Gotta Give where Jack Nicholson's character and Diane Keaton's character find themselves in bathrobes and pjs in the middle of the night, standing barefoot in the kitchen and making pancakes, discovering that they have a meaningful connection with each other. And when Erica (Diane Keaton's character) begins to leave the kitchen because she remembers that Harry (Jack Nicholson's character) is dating her daughter (if this phrase that you just read has shocked you because you haven't seen the movie, and the phrase has therefore distracted you from the point of this blog, please watch the movie so that you can get the real perspective of it since it's not that scandalous in the movie), Harry hopefully (and somewhat sadly) asks her, "You don't want pancakes anymore?"
That question always struck me during the movie no matter how many times I've watched it, because it really shows the way that food can play alternate roles in people's lives when we least expect it. If Erica and Harry hadn't arranged to meet in the kitchen, and Erica hadn't offered to make pancakes for the two of them, they might have missed their chance to see themselves in each other's eyes. (Wow, that phrase could not have sounded cheesier :P).
And do I want pancakes anymore? Of course I do, because I just heard my stomach growl and I am hungry for some leftover pancakes I made for my family just this morning. :)
here it goes!