Sunday, June 5, 2011

Food and Writing

Once again I find myself approaching the summer months with an extra several pounds making their appearance on my scale… and my waist, hips and thighs. Why do I indulge when I understand all too well the consequences? After all, it isn’t the first time I’ve spent the months of May and June losing the same ten pounds over and over again. I know what it is to attempt sleep with hunger pangs gnawing at my stomach and the dreaded thrice-weekly exercise classes, the daily walks, the perusing of labels at the grocery store and nutritional information on restaurant menus. I know what it is to calorie count, to weigh my food before and after it is cooked, to order egg whites and tomatoes when I’m hungry for pancakes and sausage. Why do I do this to myself is the proverbial question.

The answer is, I love food. Food, good food, is the source of so many pleasures. Not only is it satisfying to the taste buds, it is the center of all social relationships. One could say we human beings are obsessed with it, the planning, the preparing and the presenting of it. Going out for coffee or a frozen yogurt, wine tasting and food pairing, holiday dinners, prime rib and turkey, Christmas cookies, wedding cake, birthday brownies, hot chocolate, after school snacks, scones and tea are all that is familiar and comforting. Without food an event falls flat.

Because of my love affair with food, it plays a prominent role in my books, from Cat’s medieval wedding in CATRIONA to Mercedes’ bountiful feast in THE LAVENDER FIELD, Julianne’s catering creations in A DELICATE FINISH and Kate’s larder in BLOOD ROSES. My heroines are competent in the kitchen.  After all, taste and smell are extremely important. Of the five senses, these are the ones most neglected by writers and yet they are the first we experience as newborns.

I am a perpetual 48
Our love of food carries us through life. The comfort of creamy banoffee pie with its hint of caramel and banana, the satisfying sweetness of peach ice cream, the contrast of barbecue chicken, fresh corn and cold melon, the first savory bite of charbroiled burger topped with bleu cheese, the delicious indulgence of dense toffee-chocolate cake are too tempting for this foodie to pass by... until June… and then I do because I must, because I cannot afford a new wardrobe nor a higher LDL number on the cholesterol chart, because, although I will never grace the cover of a magazine, I am not ready to give up on my health. The road to my desired weight is the same every year, a slow crawl, a painful giving up of 3500 hundred calories for every pound I drop.

One would think I would learn.

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