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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


My relationship with food has been undergoing a strange and worrying transformation.

I find whole canned tomatoes the saddest thing on earth. Just writing about them now makes tears come to my eyes. Opening a can always makes me cry. They look so destitute, so defenceless, lying in their own juices, far from home, just waiting to be eaten. What was it like for them when they were still on the mother plant? Did they have dreams? Did they aspire to become something more than simply sad whole canned tomatoes in thick juice?

Also, I have noticed that I like toast that is slightly charred. The smell reminds me of my grandmother's kitchen when I was young. My grandmother had toast in the afternoon with tea. They made it on the huge cream soda milkshake green enamel coal stove, on a little wire rack. She did not like her toast charred. Once, much later, when she was living with us in our house, far, far away from the farm, a maid charred the toast as she made it in my grandmother's eccentric electric toaster. The toaster stood upright and had a hinged door on either side that opened from top to bottom, so that when the door was open it was level with the floor. The little bakelite knobs that you opened the doors heated up as the toaster did, so you always ended up burning your fingers. Of course the maid charred the toast, because the toaster was not automatic and you had to be very careful about the timing. My grandmother said “damn it”, and when the maid asked her why she had said that, said that she had bumped her knee. But I knew otherwise.

But I digress... to get back to my relationship with food: food is becoming more of a spiritual thing than a purely physical thing. I find comfort in food. When I am depressed, I eat. When I am lonely, I eat. When I am scared or angry or sick, I eat.

Which is why I am gaining weight at an alarming rate. Gym doesn't seem to help anymore. That might be because the one and I stopped going to gym again.

Written by I


ou_ryperd said...

I also remember our grandmother's toast on the green coal stove, and the huge enamel kettle that was always boiling. Everytime I smell rooibos tea with milk in I almost have to strain against the flood of memories.

I was there again about two years ago. The coal stove was still in the house. Everything looked so small. The stove, the kitchen, the huge rondavel-lounge, the trees - everything was smaller.

Of course, it is my perspective that is different. It's hard to understand how small my world was for the first 18 years of my life. And it is even harder to try and explain how big my world is now. Yet I often still feel like I am the only person on earth.

Another thing that has changed is youth. It's gone. I feel old and finished.