Tuesday, September 05, 2006

On Food and Mood

What does a food blogger blog about when she’s lost interest in food?
Oh, I’m still interested in food, theoretically. And I know that I will soon be interested in food again: sensually, viscerally, actively, shoppingly, choppingly, steamingly, slurpingly.
Did I just write that torrid sentence? Damn. I miss those sensations of desire.
See, I’ve been slogging through a funk of depression for the past few weeks. Depression robs you of desire. It robs you of a whole lot more, but I’m a food blogger, so I want to talk about being robbed of my appetite.
If you look back over some of my recent posts, in fact, you’ll see I’ve largely been faking it about food anyway.
The only relationship I have with food these days, other than my habitual lunge for the food section every Wednesday and visiting my delicious blog friends online more often than I should admit, is nourishing myself.
And, to be honest, I’m not nourishing myself; I’m letting Cranky do it. He will do whatever it takes. He’ll spoon a little yogurt into me, warm up a bowl of unthreatening soup, tempt me with buttered rice. He knows me well enough that the other day he brought me some cole slaw, because he thought I might be ready for vegetables… and I managed to eat quite a bit of it. That’s a lot of texture, when just a few days earlier, even cottage cheese was too bumpy to put in my mouth.
Am I allowed to admit this? Have I broken a rule, a wall, a pact? Can we peek out from behind our shiny photos of lustrous roasts and come-hither cheesecake to show our honest shortcomings now and then?
This is me, at the moment. And it’s a torment, because for me, eating and blogging are inextricably entwined. If I’m not eating, what can I write about?
That’s why I decided to write about not eating.
When I say “not eating,” you should know that, of course, I am “eating.” But it’s a dull, reluctant parody of eating. “Receiving sustenance” might be a better term. Forced, dry chewing of balky, bulky mouthfuls; quick “gulp-fast-before-you-notice” swallows. Get the calories in. The fiber. The protein. Dutiful alimentation — it’s about as sexy as a dietician’s checklist.
I thanked Cranky yesterday for his “foie gras ministrations,” and by that, I certainly don’t mean he was plying me with goose liver. Picture me as the goose.
However, I am OK. This is not a cry for sympathy or advice. I have been through this before and I know that therapy/meds really do work.
Already I am improving. I just ate a massive, drippy, oily, salty, juicy plate of sliced tomatoes (bumpy cheese too), and every bite pulled me toward the sensations of desire I’ve been missing.
I am hungry for hunger; that’s a good sign.

Upbeat ending: I wrote the above post quite a few days ago, and I’m pleased to report that now my appetite is back. I thought it was an important topic, though, so I decided to publish it anyway, maybe get some conversation going. I’m still not banging around in the kitchen as much as I’d like, but it's nice to be able to say that I’M HAPPY AND I EAT. Whew. Slurp, smack, snarf.

34 comments:

kudzu said...

I'm someone who has gone through similar periods and I believe that part of the feeling better (note: I did not use the ubiquitous "recovery") is dealing with it up front and honestly in safe places -- like your marriage, your friendships, and yes, your blog. Thanks for describing so well the lack of appetite and inspiration that hits us at thos times, and my hearfelt wishes for more snarfing of bumpy cheese -- and whatever makes your eyes shiny and your coat glossy.

kudzu said...

PS I was so moved to respond to you, I didn't proofread what I typed while wearing the wrong glasses! Meant every syllable, typos or no.

Kate said...

Been there and felt the same....I can relate totally. To some, food is an elixir in troubled times; to others it becomes an enemy trying to get in. I vacillate between the two when I am in a funk. Good to see you back- I really enjoy your blog

Anonymous said...

Great to hear you are back...I came out of lurking to say how much i enjoy reading your blog. :) Thank you for putting so much time and effort into it.

Monkey Gland said...

I always break it down. Not in a hip hop dance kinf of way, but go back to the very simple good things and see if I can repressurize my palate that way

Mary Ladd said...

I'm glad you posted this. Your post was interesting and brings up valuable questions and issues for food bloggers that I'm still pondering. If I can hash out my thoughts in some cohesive way, I will.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Thanks. And would you believe that in its first draft, I didn't even bother to describe how *hard* it is to eat? All I had the energy to say was that I didn't have an appetite. You are so OOMPH.

Kate: I'm really happy to hear from you. Let's be well together!

Anonymous: XXXXXXX Your comment means a TON to me. Thanks.

MG: Huh! You too, sometimes? "Repressurize." I like that. (I could say so much more to you, my darling, but let's leave it there. XXX to you.)

Mary: Let's hear more. Let's talk. Hugs to you.

Cyndi said...

glad you're back - happy AND mad!

Catherine said...

I'm glad you're feeling better. I've been feeling blue lately myself and found its almost impossible to write well about food when I feel that way.

Kalyn said...

So glad to hear you're feeling better and hungrier. I know I've been there too, not that long ago either. It can really suck but (platitude coming) I guess it's part of life.

If only I lived closer, we could have gotten very, very drunk together. Now that's an image that should bring at least a small smile.

Sean said...

Brava to you, love. If life were pretty and delicious and sloppy and gluttonous every day, we'd have no contrast. Like eating a big bowl of bumpy cheese every single day. Now really -- what would be more depressing?

And when you come out the other side, when the shy fairy of desire opens her kimono to reveal the luscious robe underneath, isn't she all the more beautiful?

Claire said...

Glad you're feeling better. You're blessed to have someone to take care of you when you're out of sorts! I think that the picture looks delicious. It makes me want this for lunch tomorrow! I think I will!

Dagny said...

We all feel down at times. Thankfully I have a pretty good metabolism because at those times I make lists of foods that make me feel good -- and then proceed to work my way through the list. At these times I don't have the energy to make anything so I go to favorite restaurants or delis. The funny thing is that when I'm feeling up, I tend forget how much I love these certain things. I guess that's what makes them special though -- the fact that I don't have them all the time.

jen's mom said...

"And how are you?" said Winnie-the-Pooh.

Eeyore shook his head from side to side.

"Not very how," he said. "I don't seem to have felt at all how for a long time."

Winnie-the-Pooh

Not very how, then a little how, then a little more how. Life is good.

Amy Sherman said...

I don't know what to say other than "hang in there"...

Tea said...

Thanks for bringing up a hard topic (but really, would I have expected any less from you?). The relationship with food is so complex. How we nourish ourselves, take care of ourselves, treat and indulge ourselves. And sometimes we all lose traction--at least I know I do. It's not easy.

Thanks for keeping it real. You're my very favorite goose so I'm glad Cranky is keeping an eye on the feed.

ilva said...

Life can be so difficult and I find that in certain ways it is so much harder than when I was young even though the downfalls are less frequent... I have missed you - I'm happy you're back! Buon appetito!

Lewis said...

Hey. Ditto to all that was said. And be proud that you kept posting, slogging your way through it. That's more than half the battle, to keep at it and turn out good material (which you did) when yer not firing on all cylinders. Hoping to instill a bit o' fire in my lazy self (I haven't been posting reg'larly). Volunteered to cook at a restaurant tonight. If that don't get my head back in the game, I will resort to a good bender.

Jamie said...

I'm really glad to hear you're feeling more like yourself. It's amazing what depression--in whatever form, for whatever reason--can do to your ability to enjoy the everyday pleasures of your life.

I lost 35 pounds when I got divorced. I needed to lose about 25 of those pounds, to be honest, but unhappiness is not the weight loss method I would recommend.

Bless Cranky for helping you when you need it!

Kevin said...

CC,
I've been there too.

cookiecrumb said...

Thanks to every one of you for the kind words. I'm going to do an etiquette faux pas and just single out Ilva's remark, which is so damn appropriate it made me laugh and ponder and feel grateful. BUON APPETITO! What a lovely thought: To wish somebody a good appetite. That is life.

mrs d said...

Oh, I'm there with you, sister. Got the food funk every other week. Of course it's a little different around here as Chopper does 90% of the cooking (when we can access the kitchen) and I'm almost always the goose.

sher said...

I've also been there. In fact, after my depression abated and my appetite came back I would joke that I was going to write a book on the Depression Diet--"Get depressed and lose 10 pounds!" But, it's always good to talk about this because so many of us will experience this kind of thing in our lives. Glad you're feeling better.

C'tina said...

I tried an 'energy/appetite suppressant' supplement once....I had the awful cranky feeling of being hungry but nothing appealed to me...I don't believe anything legal can give me more energy...I'm perpetually tired by 2 pm every day...sleep is bliss...thanks for sharing your ups and downs and back ups again

Stacie said...

happy endings...

anni said...

CC -
Hooo-waaah!
You can start smacking on some very fine tomatoes, green beans, peppers, squash, . . .
The garden is in its denouement for the season.
Glad you snapped out of your food funk. I was right there with ya. I've catered so many gigs the last few weeks, I can barely look at another morsel. But, hey! We foodies bounce right back up don't we?

Holla-back at me for our rendezvous...

Tootles,
Anni :-)

Anonymous said...

I've been reading you for a half a year or so and never commented before, but this makes me want to say thank you for writing about this! I have been through this too, more than once -- so paralyzed by it that I couldn't even tolerate the texture of anything in my mouth, let alone actually eating. Gratefully, it has always passed for me and each time it's been sort of glorious to rediscover my ability to really enjoy food. I hope it will be the same to you. Be well.

Gustad said...

oh man, thats sucks. i feel your pain. somewhat. get better soon!!! and love food again!!

cookiecrumb said...

Thanks again, friends. (Gosh, I didn't write this so I could get love-bombed, but I'm loving it!!)
The recent comment by "Anonymous" comes closer than I dared to admit how hard it is to eat when you're depressed. Who the hell thought up this disease?!
xxx

Marianne said...

I've been feeling much the same way (and even getting some not-so-thinley-veiled shit from some readers for it). Eventually it culmanated in my body basically rejecting food altogether. I'm perking up a bit and I'm glad to see that you are back to your old self.

cookiecrumb said...

Marianne: I talked to some other people recently, and it's like we've all been astrologically hexed this year. (Is it because they demoted Pluto?) Folks who haven't been through this can't understand. (It's not their fault. But boo-hiss on them for dissing you.) Be well. xx

Marianne said...

It's something about a Saturn return and maybe an eclipse? I am obviously a pro. astrologer. I just need to focus on taking care of me and can't really worry about pleasing anyone else--readers be damned. Stinks, but it's true. Let's just get better together, what better revenge?

Karina said...

I have so been there. After going gluten-free, I lost my appetite and zest for cooking big-time. Food tasted like cardboard.

A brave post, and much appreciated!

cookiecrumb said...

Karina: I hope you're back in a big way. I hope Shauna's roundup of gluten-free blogs (of which you are a star) gives you inspiration. Slightly off-topic here, but why aren't we all gluten-free? It's doable! Thanks for the note.