MY JOURNEY – Eating alone.
Making my food just as I like it
When Barry and I were first married, dinner was either grilled or pasta. But as we found ourselves hosting holidays and dinner parties, we bought cookbooks and new tools for the kitchen. I have to say that we made some pretty good meals together when we were novices. Once we had kids, cooking and shopping became my job and I wasn’t thrilled about it. People who know me well understand that I do not have a sophisticated palate. Hey, I’m a Swede and we like white food!
My kids joke about some of the concoctions I devised to entice them to eat healthier. They wouldn’t eat salads so I did what my mom did with her kids and cut up apples for every dinner. I hid peas in tater tot casseroles and vegetables in pasta sauce. Basically, my cooking wasn’t very creative back then unless I was on a health kick of some sort.
I went through a no-fat phase for a while, trying to make muffins with yogurt and using nonfat everything. But back then, nonfat foods were filled with chemicals (yuck) so that didn’t last long. One time I decided we would all be vegetarian, until I tried to make falafel. It was a huge failure that everyone still laughs about.
Never complain to the cook
My kids and Barry learned that it was not a good idea to complain about any dinner I made. I served the falafel and everyone had weird looks as they chewed what tasted and felt like sand. The kids gave up after one bite, but poor Barry finished the entire thing, chewing very slowly as he tried really hard to get it down.
In a marriage, you must figure out how to work together. I made dinners and shopped for the food and Barry figured out his job was to never ever complain and to clean up the kitchen after dinner. I threatened that when the kids were all out of the house, I would never cook again. I would be happy with cheese and crackers for dinner. Then Barry and I found ourselves alone — and he was suffering from FTD. He could no longer clean up, but I still made meals, although not with a lot of variety. As always, Barry never complained and ate anything put in front of him.
Now Barry lives in a care center and I have only me to cook for each night. I kind of like it! I eat what I want — nothing fancy. If I have a lunch meeting during the day, I just have cheese and crackers for dinner. My favorite dinner for myself is a baked sweet potato with a bit of goat cheese and chopped walnuts sprinkled on top. Along with a small salad, it’s the perfect meal for me. I really don’t mind eating alone. It’s the one thing I feel comfortable with during this journey we are on. Barry continues to eat anything put in front of him as long as someone is there to feed him. I wonder if he remembers our meals as a family. Does he remember the awful falafel I made? I hope he does!
As I worked on this post, I took a break to go feed Barry his lunch at the care center. Today he actually refused to chew or swallow the bratwurst they served. This is the first time I’ve seen him not eat something on his plate. I had to scoop the bite of brat out of his mouth. It was really scary because I thought he might choke. I wondered if this was the beginning of a new phase of not eating. But then he ate the potatoes and coleslaw on his plate just fine. When I got to his ice cream, he said, “More, more,” after each bite. I left the care center thinking what a shame it is that he can’t make what he likes for dinner. He was stuck with my cooking for more than 30 years and now he’s stuck with care center food. Poor guy just can’t win!