Food for thought
I ate recently at a Greek restaurant in Atlanta called Taverna Plaka. It was an amazing experience, not only because of the food, but because of the process involved in eating it. I was reminded of how wonderful food can be, and the way it is celebrated at every meal in places like France and Italy. It really was wonderful. If you ever go, ask for Tatiana. She is sweet, and is very good at describing the food.
This was the first time I’d ever gotten to grind my own hummus. The chick peas, olive oil, lemon, herbs, and garlic were brought to me in a wooden mortar with a wooden pestel. The process of mashing it up and smelling the aromas comingling was so satisfying. And watching Tatiana set my flaming cheese on fire was fun. I’d forgotten how much I love interacting with food. Food is a treasure – it really is! As someone who has dealt with eating disorders, I cannot stress enough how important it is to not feel guilty about eating, to enjoy your food and appreciate it.
I had the lamb chops, and they were amazing. They were like marshmallows. They were soft and spongy, yet they had a good, meaty texture, and they wrapped around my teeth when I bit into them. And the dessert, Ek Mek, was just about the most decadent piece of heaven I’ve had in my mouth since Alan. (Whoops! That was dirty… but there you have it!)
So, why go on and on about a meal? Because it made me feel real joy. The tables were stable and sturdy, and there were signs posted all around that read “Dance At Your Own Risk.” People get drunk and dance on the table tops! This is what eating is supposed to be: Fun.
Too often in the United States were have a horrible relationship with our food. We either wolf it down while working (or thinking about anything other than the food), consume fake substitutions for food, eat it alone in our cars or some gray cubicle, and generally take it for granted. But food is the stuff of life, man! You are not only what you eat, you are how you eat!
Look at the Mediterranean peoples: They have low cancer rates, low obesity and obesity-related complications, long lives, and a tradition of forming life-long interpersonal relationships. They have a reputation for being friendly, loud, happy, passionate, and generous. How can you not be if you eat communally and dance on table tops to live music? These people live to eat, whereas in the United States we tend to eat to live.
I am feeling such a deep connection to my belly right now, and it is completely invigorating. So invigorating that I need to nap before I get ready to go to the club. I am not writing this blog as some kind of shameless plug for a restaurant that doesn’t even know I exist (although one of the waiters came to me and asked in broken English if I was Devon Hunter – how funny!). I’m writing this blog, because I was reminded that a passionate life is a beautiul one. I sincerely hope that you are doing what makes you happy in this life, and that you are sharing that wealth with as many people as possible. Life is a miracle – EAT!