What to Eat When You’re Not Expecting Anything

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February 9, 2014 by lucieromarin

Today, during the homily, we were cautioned against reading time-wasting blogs. Fortunately, we were not cautioned against writing them, so I figure if I type this with my eyes closed then I will fulfill my duties both to cyberspace and to obedience.

We’ve all heard the sermons about food, and about how we shouldn’t think too much about it (or eat too much of it) and how we must mortify our palates with too little or too much salt, and so on. Well, I can’t deny that there is some prudence in this; nonetheless, it remains true that a) we have to eat, and b) when you’re alone and depressed, reaching for a bar of chocolate only to remember that you’re supposed to mortify your palate and not rely on food for your happiness only makes you b.i) more scrupulous and depressed or b.ii) rebellious, so that you eat the chocolate, and then feel corpulent, which is bad, or become corpulent, which is worse, because now you’re unhealthy and overweight, as well as alone, scrupulous and depressed.

Unless you’re a yoga-loving raw vegan (which I most assuredly am not) there are times when your quinoa-and-chia salad just doesn’t cut it. At the same time, it actually is a long-term kind of bad-for-you to be addicted to anything, especially to the fried or sugary treats that will eventually spoil your skin, your palate, and who knows what else.

So, what do you do, then, when you’re alone, depressed, and hungry? My general rules are as follows:

1) Activity conquers melancholy, so you need to prepare your food yourself, but keep it simple (unless you really love cooking.)

2) Make it red and green. This may sound absurd, but remember that any kind of beauty conquers melancholy, and when your eye looks down at your plate, you want it to be delighted by the colour it apprehends there, not further depressed by the drear of grease or sludge. 

3) For example: Two slices of bacon, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and spinach, fried together in olive oil and topped with grated cheese. Another example: chopped green beans, cherry tomatoes, a tin of tuna in olive oil, a chopped boiled egg, and grated cheese, tossed together.

4) Fancy patisserie cake. If you’ve reached the age at which you know you Should Not Eat Cake Because You’re Not Getting Any Younger, you have another cause for depression to add to your existing list (i.e. your failure to master your concupiscible appetite, and whatever caused your unhappiness in the first place.) At the same time, if you haven’t any babies to cuddle or husbandly shoulders to lean on, and you can’t afford any fascinating excursions, and you’re tired, and tomorrow’s Monday…well, you’re going to want something for afternoon tea.

The important thing is not to get addicted to rubbish. So, walk to your nearest fancy patisserie because a) activity conquers melancholy, b) engaging with other people  conquers melancholy (even if it’s only looking at them as they pass you in the street, or saying ‘thank you’ as they give you your change) and c) it’s important not to pay for rubbish.

5) Real yoghurt and fruit. I disliked fruit so violently for so long that I actually used to get angry when I saw people eat it voluntarily. Didn’t they know that it was pauper-food, and only meant for penance? Why would anyone voluntarily eat fruit, unless he was a miser or a joyless sourpuss who hated cake? I also used to think that yoghurt was the joyless miser’s version of cream.

Then I discovered a) natural yoghurt (or the kind of sweetened-but-thick-traditional yoghurt that isn’t yoplait’s watery, sugary travesty) b) blueberries, c) mangoes, d) the kiwi fruit called ‘kiwi gold.’ Suddenly, it all made sense. Blue and orange! So pretty!

6) Don’t eat in front of the television, if this is in any way possible. Okay, if you live in a highrise flat in a slum, there’s probably no back step or birdsong or view of the sky or rolling hills available to you. But if you have any alternative to the screen, take it.

7) Say grace after meals. If anyone had ever told me before this year that I would one day offer this advice to anyone, I would have said, “Pshaw!” followed by something scornful and unpublishable. But it’s true. If you’ve made something wholesome and delicious yourself, and then sat with something lovely that God has made (such as sunlight or stars or birdcalls) to eat it, then, when you’re finished, you’ll want to say ‘thank you.’

Either that – or I’m easily pleased!

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