Food is a loyal friend. It is with you to celebrate, with you to indulge, with you to grieve. Food can play a key role in both the best and the darkest moments of life; can see you at your shining best and your hot-mess worst. I love great food, and I love healthy food, but heaven knows we can’t always be great and healthy.
Here are five of my most guarded post-pig-out confessions to make you feel proud of your good days and better about your bad days.
Open fridge, insert fork
I wish I could say that this has only happened once, but that would be a lie. It’s an odd mixture of laziness, boredom, and denial that brings me to stand in the open fridge door with a fork in hand and unlike a normal person with manners and self-respect, to eat directly from the shelf. I may or may not be in my underwear when this occurs. This moment always involves sweets that I only intend to have a bite or two of, but which inevitably disappear before long. Italian creme cake, sourdough bread pudding, chocolate mousse cheesecake.
…And a bag of chips
This is the moment in which my hand reaches into the bag of chips only to find broken ends and crumbs, blindly pawing around for a minute before I realize I’ve just killed the whole thing. In one sitting. That was eight servings? But I’m still kind of hungry! Well, I mean, at least they were pita chips and not like, Doritos. Right? I stuff the empty bag as far down into the trash can as I can and deny myself all manner of carbs for the rest of the day.
I don’t know what it is about grazing, especially on snacks or junk food, that makes me feel like it should be done in private. I’m sneaking off to the kitchen at a family event or something of the like, grabbing a handful of this or a bite of that and hurriedly chomping it down before anyone sees. Except in this moment, I’m caught with my mouth full and only in seeing the person’s non-reaction, realize I’m only hiding from myself.
Food coma > Plans
I went a little overboard at dinner or dim sum and now am so stuffed I can’t possibly go through with the plans I’ve made for afterward. Of course, in this moment, “plans” most often consist of meeting a deadline or cleaning the kitchen and very rarely of anything I actually wanted to do in the first place.
This is the moment in which I must undo a button or loosen a belt because somehow, at some point between getting dressed this morning and sitting here now, I seem to have grown a size. I’m lucky if this is just at home on the couch, and much less so if I’m in some public place, which I will surely get up and wander through for a minute or two before remembering I’ve undone my fly.
Moments like these are far from glamorous or graceful, but I’ll be the first to admit that they’re just as real and meaningful as perfecting a recipe or savoring a farm-fresh piece of fruit. Eat to feel, eat to love, eat to know yourself. Food is there through thick and thin.