This week I have come to the realization that most of my life is tied to food!
If I want to celebrate, it includes food. If I want motivation, the prize is often food related. When I’m sick I want comfort food. If I am caring for someone else, it often involves giving food.
Weddings, birthday parties, even a date with my husband includes a meal or snack.
But take away food and things feel hard. Nourishment is one of our basic needs. Without it everything gets harder.
According to NASA, the basic needs humans must have to survive are air, shelter, water, and food. And who am I to argue with NASA?
But when I look at that list and then look at my life, I certainly have more than I need.
Air: We control the air around us. Temperature, flow, purity, even scent. As I sit writing this, my house is working to maintain a comfortable 72 degrees. At least until the outside temperatures dip a little lower and my husband switches over to heating the house. Then it will drop to a frigid 65 degrees. I have a purifying fan running to keep air flow. I have a candle burning giving off the scent of frosted spruce and eucalyptus. This is more than we need for survival.
Shelter: Yes, I have four walls and a roof. But I also have hardwood flooring and carpet, a king size bed, a separate bathroom, a kitchen, and multiple living spaces. I am sheltered from the temperature and the weather and outside sounds and dangerous animals and people. I feel safe in my home. I do not worry about my survival.
Water: Not only does it flow from several faucets in my home, but I also filter it and adjust it to the temperature I desire. I don’t have to work for it or really even think about it. I just access it whenever I want.
Food: At any moment in my day (or even at night), if I want to put some form of food in my mouth, I have access to it. So my basic need to eat is covered.
Clearly, my basic needs for survival are complete. I don’t stop and take notice of any of these unless something goes wrong. We’ve had the air conditioner go out. We’ve had our well pump die. Our house has been hit by a tornado (that’s a story for another day). We’ve had a missing ingredient to a recipe, but usually we can adapt or run to the store to acquire it. But this week, I lost my sense of taste. That doesn’t really have an impact on my survival (neither did the time the air conditioner went out, although my children might have thought differently with how grumpy it made me). What surprised me was how much of my day to day was changed because of my lack of taste.
- My morning coffee wasn’t something I slowly enjoyed. It was warm, but it didn’t make me smile.
- I burned my bagel that I cooked for breakfast. Normally, I would be frustrated and toss it and cook another or eat a bowl of cereal instead. But this time I just ate the burned bagel.
- For lunch I ate some leftover beans and rice. Usually when I make this dish, I severely under salt it. This time, I have no clue if it needs salt or not, although I can guess the answer is yes.
- I thought it would be fun to go out for dinner, but with no taste, it seems like a waste of money. If we eat out, it is more than just the need for food to survive. It is an experience! A master chef, even an amateur chef, would tell you how important it is to taste your food. I learned that on Worst Cooks in America!
So today, after four days with no sense of taste, I am realizing just how important that is to me. Not in a bad way…because we could talk about how obsessed I am with food. But food is a way we connect with people. We learn about each other with food – favorite ice cream flavors, veggies we don’t care for, and if we are cilantro lovers or haters. The Bible is full of stories where Jesus met people and had deep conversations around the table. The kitchen is referred to as the heart of the home.
My first thoughts were about how obsessed I seemed to be about food and how it dominated much of my life. But as I have thought more, I realize it is part of my survival and not just the nourishment from it, but the experience around it. I’m not really missing the food. I’m missing the experience.