What to feed the family is a non-stop thought track, says Karin.
I think about food a lot.
I think about it when I wake up and while the kettle boils and while dry breakfast cereal rattles into bowls. I think about it when I open the bread bin to take out the bread to make the sandwiches, when I open the fridge to find cheese and butter, when I open the Tupperware cupboard to find small receptacles so the raisins and cut-up fruit don’t roll around inside the lunch boxes.
On the way back from dropping the kids I’m suddenly so hungry I could eat a farmer’s arse through a hedge because – in the midst of all of this food contemplation – I forgot to eat breakfast. Go figure.
So I go home and make something to eat while the mails download. After this meal is done, I have a short window period in which I can focus fully on work and not food, but around 11am I am notified by the school bell that is my stomach - and which will not be ignored - that it is time to eat again.
While I get a mid-morning snack, I think only about food. Not what I am about to put into my mouth (would that it would be so simple!), but what is available for the kids when they get home ravenous at 3pm, whatever that meal is called. When they were thinking about names for meals, they clearly didn’t have the mid-afternoon-just-back-from-school hunger urgency to consider yet. So, while I eat a banana, I scan the fridge and bread bin again. While I’m there I decide to apply my mind to dinner too.
Dinner-thinking is an odd jumble of thought incorporating left and right sides of the brain. It requires me to take stock of what we have and what we have, but is about to go off. Once that mental list is compiled, I have to see what I can come up with for dinner that could sensibly make use of flaccid celery, low-fat cream a day away from dead, breadcrumbs and chicken sausage. And then I have to check whether the idea I came up with will more-or-less be eaten by most of the people gathered around for dinner. The dish might involve the simple addition of, say, capers, of which there are three left in the bottle, which means a trip to the shop will be required after all.
So, as I chuck the banana skin in the bin and reach for some crackers I haven’t got time to butter, I make a list of things to get down at the shops. Then I can work for about two hours before I have to think about food again, which is when I get up to go to the shops to buy the item I needed for the clever chicken-sausage-celery-and-caper-cream dish I’ve dreamt up.
While I’m there, I stock up on more bread. There is always “more bread” on the list. No matter how much bread I bought the day before, or three hours earlier, there is ALWAYS “more bread” on the list. And “more milk”. I put the perennials into the trolley, push them to the car, put them in the car, push the trolley to the trolley park.
Then I have a short period of not thinking about food while I fetch the kids. Until we carry the bags to the kitchen and I unpack them, but only after supplying , under great pressure, the unnamed mid-afternoon meal that is always urgent beyond all telling. When those things are done, I have about half an hour of thinking non-food thoughts.
Then I make dinner and, while we eat, I try to discuss whether anyone has a good idea for tomorrow night’s dinner.
Everyone stares at me in mock horror: “Tomorrow night’s dinner? You want to think about TOMORROW night’s dinner? Give us a break! Let’s just enjoy this dinner.” No-one ever comes back to me with an idea for tomorrow night’s dinner, so while we review our various days for analysis, my brain’s already doing mental acrobatics about tomorrow’s food.
But I do make a point to never, ever, ever
dream about food. How often do you think about food? Is the food for you or for your family?