Looking back I can see that many things have changed in my life over the past few years and I have come to really appreciate the symbolism. First I stopped driving – literally getting out of the driver’s seat, then I stopped wearing a watch. Many other things have changed too, but there is one I find particularly astonishing:
I have stopped being a cook.
Cooking has been an attraction since I was a child. The kitchen was always my favourite hang-out and my roots are traditional Viennese / Bohemian / Hungarian cooking, transmitted to me from the matrons in our kitchen – my grandmothers and their helpers. They cooked soup, meat, meat, meat and desert.
The attraction of throwing things together and making something new out of it stayed with me throughout my life and there was much to be discovered in the Italian, French and later Asian cooking traditions. I went to live in foreign countries and discovered their traditions too, the markets, ingredients and all the tastes, smells, textures and possibilities of combination.
I am still most fascinated by seafood, primarily because I am coming from a land-locked country and we never had much of it.
So it is curious that I am not drawn to cooking much nowadays. It looks like another lifelong attraction is out of the window too, or maybe it is just transcending into something else. Many people think I must have gone mad, because there was always food in my house, always something on the stove and I would entertain a lot. This has changed entirely since I retreated and became a bit of a hermit, so I am no longer feeding my friends with the creations of my kitchen. It occurs to me that the theme is “nurturing” – so maybe this is symbolising the turning to myself, giving myself the soul food I need.
Let’s see, what happens because there is nothing that amazes me anymore and I would be amazed if such a big passion, like cooking, does not return one day.
Personally I have always been much more of a cook than an eater. I am a really fast eater, always have been this way and even now, bringing more attention to anything I am doing, it is still most difficult to slow down with food. I used to get hungry and I get very irritable when I am hungry. In my cooking days, I tend not to eat much because it dulls the senses. I have kind of lost much of my appetite and actually, as I am not cooking nowadays, my favourite food is ham sandwiches and mint tea. I am kind of following what the body craves, and nowadays it seems to be bread, butter, ham, mint and lemon. I am working a lot with people having trouble eating (too much / too little). I understand the compensatory role eating takes in our life – often literally filling that gaping hole left by living a lie.
The stomach is out first when under stress, so no wonder, so many people are grappling with this.