I like to joke that I am cultivating a taste for foods my children do not like. That way I actually get a full portion. Others can relate, I am sure. So far the absolute sure fire way to get the entire portion of what I have prepared is to make buttered okra. I love okra. Especially buttered with lots of salt. Yum. My last baby was mostly made of okra. Okay, half okra and half Greek yogurt. Another of my sure fire ways to get a full belly is to make anything with rose-water. A habit recently picked up. When we lived in Toronto it was in a Persian neighborhood. It was delicious. And open late at night. A very helpful combination. Shopkeepers and shoppers alike loved to shower my children with treats. During most of this time we were on a restricted diet i.e.-gluten free. We turned down most of the offerings. Last year while reading a lovely passage in a book I suddenly had a realization. Someone would compliment my children and offer a gift of food, usually sweets and my children would turn to me with a sad face and then I would say, No, thank you. I was uncomfortable, they were uncomfortable, everyone was uncomfortable. I would also like to say that we do not have a severe allergy to wheat or gluten. The reasons for us going gluten-free for nearly five years are too nebulous to go in to right now. I and two of my children do have an allergy to shellfish, so I get it. Trust me, I get it. What I realized is that people were trying to connect with us, create community and I was saying no! I ramble on and on about finding and creating community and when it was presented in a context I wasn’t in complete control of, I said no. There is the argument that you should create boundries or definitions to the community you want to create but it just didn’t seem right anymore. It felt to me that I was teaching my children to reject what others offered, that it wasn’t good enough.
Recently a friend posted about orthorexia nervosa. I can’t even go in to the fact that I have a fear that I have mucked up at least one of my children’s relationships with food. When does a diet turn in to a ‘diet’? There is a line and I am not sure where that is. After exploring all the options we have decided on this one. This one full of real, healthy, mostly home-made food. Opening ourselves up to more food experiences and to people and their offerings.
This post has been kicking around the drafts folder for over a month now. I was unsure of how to end it then yesterday was a perfect example of community, sharing and our place in it. We attended a summer festival at our church with games, contests and eating. Most specifically sausages and buns. My children dove in. Eating and playing with friends and community elders. Without a care in the world. Last year would have seen me hovering over making up special plates. What a relief for us all. We were carefree and deeply rooted in the event in a way I didn’t feel before.