We were talking about our friend’s recent stressful and lonely time, about how her way of doing food had changed so radically over a few months, about how painful times do that, change our relationships with food; we would proceed to talk about her return to equilibrium, about dancing and art, about our families and a dozen other things before we parted. But this moment that returns to me is when she turned to me and said, “I forgot; you don’t like food.” I said something along the lines that it wasn’t quite so simple, that since I was an adolescent I’ve had infrequent (though regular) lapses into anorexia, that between those lapses I have a more or less fucked up relationship to eating, that yes, I’m fine now and have (more or less) been so for years. But that in spite of all that I do quite like food. When our eyes met, hers may or may not have held a whole symphony of skepticism.
That conversation took place nearly a year ago, and I still think about it occasionally — mostly when I’m cooking. Especially when I’m cooking something I probably won’t eat. She doesn’t know that. And she didn’t know then about my history with an eating disorder. I’m not sure what she knew, only that, when I asked, she said it was obvious. My body advertises that I don’t like food.
My body lies.
I love the feeling of bread coming together as I knead it and the smell of a curry. I love the freshness of a slice of cucumber or fennel. I love the rhythm of slicing and stirring, the precision of measuring and the creativity of improvising. Above nearly everything else, I love the exquisite silkiness of that first bite from a slice of lemon pie, the tart rich curd melting on my tongue.