My brain, like the pregnant dark clouds in the morning sky, feels thick.
Dense with food thoughts. All morning I have wanted to write about food but haven’t been able to wrap my mind around a theme or topic.
Not a particular food. Not about my forthcoming cookbook. Not a story for a magazine, a blog post, or a memoir entry. Not a poem about pecans or a haiku about Jello. But just food.
Because it’s as if everything I do is related to food. I feel obsessed. My brain is jumbled, like the goulash I made as a teenager when I tossed pasta, leftover chili, red sauce and onions in a large Dutch oven pot to become a one-pot wonder for whoever came to the table that day. In my world back then, it could be three or ten people. And it wasn’t about good, it was about sustenance.
Today those food thoughts are all about crockpot beef that I made last week. Did I remember to write the recipe? Steamed crab for a graduation party next month. What will I eat for lunch today that is quick and satisfying? Pimento cheese that I will make as I follow along online with Cook a Book video series next Sunday. The bread I baked for Mrs. Smith my neighbor since her husband died last Friday. The red licorice logs in my desk drawer—my midafternoon luxury. The Shrimp and Asparagus Pizza recipe written on Word doc on my desktop. Not yet tested.
That’s what food does to me. It simmers and stews in my brain.
Earlier this morning, when I drove to The Smith’s house with the freshly baked banana bacon date bread, they were eating lunch. They’d invited me to sit. I wasn’t hungry, but I sat for a few minutes to talk. Not about Mr. Smith’s passing, though. Anything but. We danced around the subject while they nibbled and between bites asked me about my world. My writing. The wildlife that we share in the adjoining woods behind our homes. Of course, my Salmon cookbook came up. More salmon-lovers in the house. I invited them to my book launch party next month. We talked make-up, shopping, high school, walking, and the neighborhood boys on their scooters and skateboards that speed up and down our driveways and on the freshly excavated dirt on the property next door. The Smith family said that since Mr. Smith had died on Friday, all they’ve done is eat.
Because that’s what food does. It nourishes and feeds our souls.
Sometimes there is comfort and familiarity between slices of white bread. In a bag of Doritos. Inside a warm squash casserole and tiny tins of pecan pie.
Sometimes writing about food isn’t about food at all. It’s about life and death. Or the weather.
Winds rush high and swift/
Thick, low, pregnant gray clouds are/
Ready to burst soon/