The soul needs the nourishment of the loving vibrations generated by home cooking.- Charles Eisenstein in The Yoga of Eating.
Those are my mom's handwritten recipes laid out before some of my newly acquired cookbooks. I've conservatively estimated that she cooked some 17,280 dinners in her life, many of them centered around the recipes pulled from the meat section of her card file. She had only a few cookboks and no connection to the thousands of food blogs that now exist so those recipes written on 4X 6 inch cards, sustained her.
She gave up her file box when she moved to a retirement home last year with my dad. Although they have a kitchen in their apartment, the home provides three meals a day in a dining room with wait service, so mom no longer cooks. She considers it a big luxury not to be the one to decide what to fix for dinner, then shop, chop and cook.
There are stories in that recipe box. I can still remember the sounds, smells, and tastes of those long ago meals when I hold a card in my hand. My eating habits have changed over the years so I'm not craving meatballs or spare ribs, I think it's the memory of home cooking that I miss. My mom's and my own.
I rarely cook for myself. There was a time when I'd draw up a week's worth of menus, shop, cook and send my son to preschool with leftovers. Now, we all have separate households and I've fallen into the habit of shutting down the kitchen when I'm alone. No diners, no dinners. After several years of eating what I want, when I want, my body seems to be yearning for a change and I think I know the reason why.
The love relationship that I've been in for the last two years has taught me to be kinder to myself. Tall Guy won't let me say anything self-abrasive so even my self-talk has gone gentle. When we're fast-pacing through a day he'll realize a missed meal and say, "I haven't fed you". I now catch myself saying the same when I'm alone, it's 3 p.m. and I haven't had any lunch. I haven't fed you.
The statement, "You cannot change one thing without changing everything," appears several times in The Yoga of Eating and I'm beginning to see that this desire to cook for myself comes from a refreshed definition of self care. Rather than putting my hands on my hips and declaring, "I can take care of myself", I'm about to go through my cookbooks and my mom's recipes to draw up a week's worth of menus. Now, I can really take care of myself.