It’s Not You, It’s Me
It’s not you. It’s me.
It’s not your fault the excitement is waning. You’re still delightfully YOU; sometimes elusive, sometimes coy, sometimes comforting, sometimes maddening. But I used to find it secretly tantalizing that while everyone else THINKS they know who you are, really, I’m among the lucky few who actually recognize you in your purest, most honest form. Now that thrill is fading, along with some of the other things that gave our romance its spice.
Maybe it’s just the seven-year itch? I’ve heard about that, and I never thought it could happen to us. But I find myself drifting off more and more to fantasies about dabbling in lacto-fermentation to rekindle the spark. That brief dalliance we had with gluten-and casein-free was interesting. It kept the mystery alive for a while. But you and I both know, I think, that the drama was just that – drama. It couldn’t last. It couldn’t keep the day-to-day passion burning.
Slowly, I feel our bond being strained by the predictable, everyday things. They say finances are the number one issue between couples, and baby, do I feel it. I worry that I can no longer afford to keep you in the fashion to which we’ve become accustomed. I’m afraid my lust for the finer things – pastured, organic, local, heirloom – has gone from being the force that unites us to the addiction that drives us farther apart. It’s not that I love you less. I still can’t get enough of you. You know that. But I LITERALLY can’t get enough of you these days, not at these prices, not with the other men in my life to feed. For the first time I’m starting to worry that those pretty, plumped-up imports will turn my head with their discount prices and their glossy images. I’m ashamed to admit that to you. Forgive me.
There’s not enough of ME to go around, frankly, and it’s tempting to be like one of those wanton and carefree cooks who can dally with you one day and make a microwave meal the next.”
Oh, food, it’s not just a money thing, and it’s not all vanity. It’s the exhaustion, too. I know you know what I’m talking about. Day after day you’ve seen me pass you by – your short ribs waiting patiently for me to render them, your crisp round apples gleaming from their tote, expecting me to fulfill the promise that someday soon there will be sweetness and spice and a luxurious journey towards applesauce. You’ve been a patient lover, and you’ve made no demands, but I still feel guilty when I see the inevitable signs that you’re withering away from me, taking the best you had to offer. I want that, I do, but it never feels like there’s enough time. There’s not enough sleep. There’s not enough of ME to go around, frankly, and it’s tempting to be like one of those wanton and carefree cooks who can dally with you one day and make a microwave meal the next. I could never wrong you that way, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you I’ve thought about it.
The holidays are coming. I feel some of the old excitement stirring; I see you waiting there, just ahead of me, wide open to embrace me with all the comfort and security and nostalgia we’ve shared. I know if I can just get past the tiredness and put aside the stress you’ll welcome me without judgment. It’s like glimpsing what used to be, and I’m wondering if we can have that again, or if this is just another illusion. Will January bring more disappointment? More fatigue? Will we just be going through the motions, and will I spend the winter dreaming of you as your young, attractive summer self?
Or is this just the way love is, sometimes? I may be confessing this for nothing; maybe all relationships go through these ebbs and flows. Maybe everyone feels the deep, dark, secret urge to slip packaged granola bars and “organic” cookie packs into their kids’ backpacks, just to see what would happen, to see if they’d get caught. Maybe it doesn’t have to mean that I don’t love you; it may just be that even after all you’ve done for me, I’m finding it hard to keep giving back to you at the level we’ve established, and my resolve is wearing thin. I’ll blame the weather. The demands of the outside world. My own uncompromising expectations.
But I want you to know that I don’t blame you. And since love is an action as much as a feeling, I’m going to keep on meeting you every day at our usual time, in our special spot (kitchen peninsula, right under the light bulb that never stays lit). Selfishly, food, I’m going to keep letting you give generously to me, knowing that what I get back from you will be better for what I contribute to our relationship. I’m going to keep showing up for you. And I hope – I think – I even KNOW, somewhere deep down, that one day I’ll be surprised how just being there with you day after day, even when I don’t want to anymore, will rekindle the romance. One day soon, food, we’ll feel that old familiar spark. Because I DO love you and I love how you love me and my family. And I know that our relationship is more real because of all this angst. We’ll be better because we’ve been tested.
PS I meant to tell you the bacon was exceptional the other night. I should tell you that more often.
How do you remedy your real food fatigue?
Photo Credit: Tomiko Peirano
Chris Regan and Ashley Mayne produce a wide array of delicious greens for the Hudson Valley.
With his new book, Forrest Pritchard tells the stories of 18 farms from all across America.
Forrest Pritchard and Smith Meadows are prime examples of sustainable family farming.
Jonathan Waxman shares his food philosophy with Slow Films.
A group of star chefs play with fire for a good cause.