food made with love

Last weekend, as I left for a run in 90-degree weather, I said to A., “Can you make C.’s lunch?”

“Sure,” he agreed without hesitation.

When I returned, sweaty and tired, I saw a recipe, written in beautiful writing on a yellow legal pad in our living room: Mango brown rice, mushy-style. It was like a love letter.

“There are two portions in the fridge,” A. told me before he left for the climbing gym.

And then he called from the car on his way home.

“How did he like it?”

C. loved it. He leaned in, his bib swinging from his neck, and opened his mouth for more, more, more, giving me those “damn I love you” eyes. Mango rice has become a staple in C.’s diet.

Since C. started eating solids nearly two months ago, I’ve noticed that my relationship with food is changing. I often get in food ruts, where I eat the same thing every day. I know what I like, I guess, but I get bored with myself. Fast. I made a rule several years ago that every time I go to the grocery store, I have to buy something I’ve never bought before. That helps.

What helps even more is getting excited to feed C. new flavors and textures. Now I’m buying veggies and fruits that I rarely eat, like organic cauliflower, juicy nectarines, extra firm tofu. I’m going to the farmers market and picking out summer favorites, like peaches and vine-ripe tomatoes. And, of course, if I’m feeding it to C., I’m trying it, too.

I’m also inspired by A. He’s great at dreaming up with recipe ideas — not only for C., but for us.

On Sunday, he went to the grocery store while I put C. down for a nap. He walked in with a big smile and announced, “Tonight, I’m making chicken tikka masala!” He used the recipe on a jar of sauce he found at the store. We ate it on our couch that night, watching baseball, drinking beer, taking a break from doing our puzzle. The dish was a little chalky, we both agreed, but still tasty. We both had seconds. And all through the meal, I was thinking, “Damn, I love you.”

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