Sunday, November 09, 2008

Help! Can't cook,won't cook

I must apologise for my continued absence from the blogosphere. The reason is I am now 5 months pregnant and my pregnancy has unexpectedly, drastically and alarmingly, changed my previously happy relationship with food.
On the plus side, the fact that I was able to become pregnant could be attributed to a particularly joyous food holiday in Singapore (see article below) - my well-researched friend R tells me studies have shown a baby comes in a time of plenty, and, suggests R, it's possible the 3 gazillion calories per day I consumed while on Foodtour Singapore contributed to my suddenly heightened fertility. Whatever the reason, B and I feel blessed to have our own little one on the way... which is fortunate, because now our relationship is being rather strongly tested.
The first trimester was a hellish time which I had not at all anticipated and turned me into a particularly grumpy person. I had morning sickness, that is, morning, noon and early evening sickness to be precise. The cure for which was to eat - not dry biscuits, or gherkins, like the cute smock-wearing mumsy women you see in films - but real, hearty, hot food, mini-meals - and constantly. On a good day, I'd have one mini-meal per hour, on a bad day I'd have to eat every 10 minutes, or the nausea would come flooding back. By midday each day I'd have a thought, so alien to me that it made me re-think the whole pregnancy thing - 'I don't like eating anymore. I hate it!' What had I become?
Second trimester has thankfully eased up the morning sickness, but I have now developed aversions to a very bizarre list of foods that I previously loved - like vegetables, all vegetables, most particularly my previous favourite, the cancer-fighting king of all greens, broccoli. The implications this has for the development of the little one are alarming to both B and I, so in an effort to make up for all the lost nutrients and fibre from this bizarre shunning of vegetables, I am now eating 4-6 pieces of fruit a day, which I am now also growing to hate.
Perhaps the most unexpected problem, however, is completely losing the desire to cook, therefore the ability. Until now I had never realised how important cooking was in my life - providing sustenance for B and I, romancing B or cheering him after a hard day at work, relaxing over a cookbook or three in bed at night, the joy of planning meals to entertain friends, experimenting with a recipe on a Saturday morning, figuring out how best to cook that weird oversized purple potato I'd paid a fortune for at the farmer's market, spending hours making an elaborate recipe (which rarely worked) to impress a foodie pal, coming up with acceptable dishes for my friend's fussy toddler... you get the idea, cooking was a big, big part of my life.
My hobby, my main form of relaxation has been taken away from me - and not just from me but from B, who is as perplexed, frustrated and disturbed by this cruel twist of fate as I am. Perhaps more. In the early days of our courtship, after I'd cooked him elaborate meal after meal, and discovered he shared my love of food and cooking (before I elbowed him out of my domain, the kitchen), I asked him jokingly if he would leave me if I lost the ability to cook. B seemed confused, upset, and looked at me askance and shuddered. What a stupid question, he seemed to be saying, don’t even think it. I laughed – what a ridiculous idea! – but a part of me was unsettled, because when it came down to it, he didn't actually answer my question...
And now here we are. Yes, B can cook, and usually he enjoys it, but coming home each night from a hard day at work, then trying to hide a multitude of vegetables in bolognaise, curries, or under a layer of my current favourite food - cheese - then often seeing me turn my nose up at it is frustrating for him. I think he was prepared to one day do what it takes to get his toddler to eat their greens, but he had never in his wildest dreams imagined it would be me he’d be trying to feed. (At least I don’t spit my food out and smear it all over my face, I tell him brightly, but as he surveys my still-full plate, this only solicits dirty looks.)
After dinner these days, B has a rather large glass of wine after which I catch him sitting on the sofa, a glazed look in his eye, remembering I think, happier times when I ate normally and better, and more importantly shared the wonderful food I cooked with him.
When the little one is a troublesome teenager, I’ll be sure to show them this post, at how much they were wanted and what we went through to ensure they were a well developed, adjusted human being – even in the womb. Fingers crossed it all works out.

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