As a food person, it is rare that anything gives me more joy than a good meal. The flip side is, of course, as a food person, it is rare that anything gives me more anguish than not being able to eat. My general downtrodden feeling about the lack of available fresh food and open restaurants in my area was put into perspective this weekend. I endured a match with a stomach virus, and though I'll spare you the details, it was not a pleasant fight.
Yet through suffering we always seem to find enlightenment of some sort. Mine came in the form of a renewed appreciation for the role of food in my life. By Sunday I was petulant, disgusted, and bored. The thought of yet another sip of chicken broth (however homemade and however delicious) revolted me. My dinner plans had all been canceled. My cooking class - my hopefully source of inspiration - was obviously out of the question. And suddenly it became so clear to me that food and all it entails is literally central to my happiness. If I am prevented from eating, cooking, and enjoying all that good food has to offer, I am a less happy person. Period.
As I slowly regain the notion of hunger and appetite, the silver lining of my short-lived sickness is clear: appreciate food. Seek it out. Love it. Indulge in it. Share it. Create it. I am reminded of the words of one of my favorite playwrights, George Bernard Shaw: "There is no sincerer love than the love of food," he said. Oh how right he is.