The Memory of Food

Today is day ten of our Nourish twenty-one day detox. Last week found me expounding to my weekly meditation circle about supplication of emotions through substance: in this case, food.

Today, perched upon my stationary bike reading The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, a moment of clarity arrives. Seemingly disconnected dots (memoir and detox) establish a link.

It’s not the food; it’s the memory it conjures.

We get all twisted up in what we eat.

But what if what we eat is less about the food and more about the emotions?

What do you think of when you think of your favourite comfort food?

If I consider pork chops in mushroom gravy over mashed potatoes, it’s not the pork or the potatoes that bring me comfort. It’s that Mom made them when I was a kid, usually on a Sunday night.

After a day outdoors, riding mini motorbikes or horses or Skidoos across the field – whatever the season – I returned home for dinner.

The kitchen aromas wrapped me in a warm blanket of security and family and love.

Days were easy with childhood adventures. Meals appeared, as if miraculously, on the table, no thought to Mom’s effort.

When I conjure peppery pork chops with mushroom gravy – the kind that came from salty Campbell’s soup mixed with two per cent milk – melting mashed potatoes as it circled the chop on the plate …

it’s not about the food.

It’s about the memory. It’s about the feelings.

And knowing this, I can skip the chops and nourish myself with the memory.

Thanks, Mom.


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