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Savoring Food

Posted Feb 19 2009 6:21pm

By Lynn Haraldson-Bering

After an emergency root canal yesterday, I’m rediscovering how much fun it is to eat.

So much of the time, eating is rote. While I plan and prepare meals, and mostly when I’m eating, my mind wanders in all different directions except to the food at hand. What emails do I need to write? When’s the last time I called my mother? Did I feed the birds? Don’t forget to vacuum. Stuff like that.

But when you only have half your mouth and taste buds to work with, at least in the first few hours as you wait for the Novocain to wear off, how to eat becomes front and center. And when the Novocain wears off and your jaw will only open a few inches because it’s rebelling against being held wide open for three hours by some medieval jaw-stretching device, choosing the right foods and eating them slowly becomes a priority. 

A leftover veggie burger was the first to go down. I was grateful I’d taken the time when I made them to chop all the veggies finely and not rush through the process and settle for using big chunks of carrots and onions. I’m impatient that way. It took about 15 minutes to eat it, and a little ketchup was stuck on my lip for about an hour because I couldn’t feel it, but it was much tastier than I remember it being last night. Why? Because last night I was eating dinner while watching “Jeopardy.” I can’t concentrate on Alex Trebek and a veggie burger at the same time, and Alex was more appealing at the moment.

Next I ate a banana dipped in PB2 (a powdered peanut butter I mix with water). Usually I just run the banana through a dish of PB2 while I work at my computer. This time I had to cut it up and add it to the PB2 and eat each little bit slowly. All the while I thought, Why don’t I do this more often? Savor the joy of eating?  

String cheese is a lot of fun when you peel it. Fresh raspberries taste much better one at a time. And Tic Tacs really don’t have to be chewed the minute you put them in your mouth. Who knew?

Back in July, I blogged atLynn’s Weigh about what I consider finger foods. I reread it today and remembered it’s fun to eat broccoli or clean out a pudding cup with your fingers! I’ve put steamed broccoli on the menu for tonight along with a tomato and red lentil soup I haven’t made in ages.

It’s good to be reminded that eating should be fun, even if it that reminder comes in the form of a root canal. I’d like to incorporate less drastic reminders into my day, though, and would appreciate any tips you have. In what ways do you savor food? How do you stay present when you eat? Thanks, as always, for your ideas!

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