My kitchen escapades have disastrous stories often attached to include overflowing pots of quiona, burnt tofu platters, and a microwave fire, among other great tales. I recently discovered however exactly why I am such a terrible cook. After spending a lifetime being afraid of food and my potential lack of control around food, I avoided kitchens with every fiber in me. There was nothing more excruciating than spending time looking at food in preparation, all the while questioning myself as to whether or not I would have a day of anorexia or bulimia. Struggling to find balance in food, I found myself either starving myself or over-indulging, without predication as to which kind of day it would be, and the fear of the unknown terrified me.
Food filled a void in me that I couldn’t identify, and yet, it was a void that I sometimes ran after in pursuit during my anorexic / severe under-eating days. No stranger to emotional eating, I spent ten years emptying myself and then filling my void — over and over and over again — when at the base of it all, I just needed to fill the fundamental void of who I am. I needed to understand myself and my worth, and, armed with that knowledge, my void dissipated.
We all need to think about our relationship with food. Is food one of the main relationships in your life, and if it is, do you want it to be? People often replace people with food, and, while food will fill a temporarily void, it will never fulfill us in the way we need to be by community with others. I challenge you to reassess your relationship with food. Ask yourself if you eat to fill a void, and then fill your void with something that will fill your heart and mind, and eventually the your relationship with food will take care of itself. Love yourself and love others, and the void will take care of itself; let it go.
The good news for me (and my boyfriend) is that I now love kitchens, and while I don’t excel at cooking, I am improving. Never underestimate the power of mental transformation and that we can overcome things we never imagined possible.