Food + Emotion

Food and emotion are so closely linked. Food can makes us feel things, emotions can turn us to food. I’m writing about this because today has been a hugely emotional day for me, from sadness to joy and all things in between.

My dear friend and mentor retired today after 34 years of teaching (I’m a teacher in my other life). This man has seen me through all manner of adult tantrum throwing (me), happiness, excitement, crazy diets, personal crisis, world travels and plenty of great food and great wine. He has handled me with gentleness and grace, often when it would have been very difficult not to just tell me to be quiet and get on with it. I’m so happy and excited for him to get on with this amazing new adventure, but I’m going to miss him terribly.

I have a cold, and have been battling it for a couple of weeks. I’m frustrated, tired and generally feel lousy.

Our beloved fur child, Louis, is sick. She started last night and was so out of sorts when I got home from work at 6pm tonight, so I called the vet and they told us to come straight in. I battled traffic for 40 minutes, cried in a car park when I realised I was at the wrong end of Lygon Street (the poor man in the car park was quite alarmed and let me out quickly and for free, bless him), arrived at the vet clinic ten minutes after their closing time but they were so gracious and kind that I sat down and cried again. Lou is resting in front of the heater right now, she has had a few injections and we’ll find out more tomorrow when her blood test results arrive.

Then, driving home, I had some unexpected but joyful news that I can’t disclose yet. I wasn’t as terrified that Lou was going to die. I was almost home, after a very long day. And I was HUNGRY.

I needed some food that was going to soothe me and make my stress evaporate. Part of the catharsis of food for me lies in the preparation, the care I can put into my food, and therefore, myself. I needed something quick but nourishing, rich but loving. So I made an omelette.

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I pulled out my good knife, and chopped some onion, bacon and mushrooms. While they were frying in some butter, I whisked up a couple of eggs with salt and pepper, then poured them in with the other things, gave them a stir around and let them sit and bubble away while I crumbled some feta and tore some basil and threw it on top. When the egg was almost set, I tipped the pan and flipped the omelette over onto itself so it looked like a golden half moon, flecked with green and white. I tore up some cos and crumbled more feta on it, them drizzled just the tiniest bit of apple cider vinegar over it.

I felt better.

The creamy, silky feta sat nicely with the crunchy cos and sharp acidity of the vinegar, perfect for breaking up the richness of the egg and bacon. Soon, the only thing that remained on my plate was a tiny bit of crispy bacon that escaped, and a solitary chunk of feta. I mashed them together and savoured them.

I felt better still. Nourished, satisfied, content. That’s what food does for me – it heals me, emotionally and physically. I love my food and it loves me back.

Now my day is done, and I’m ready to sleep. Tell me though, what do you cook and/or eat when you are mad, sad or glad? I’d love to know!

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