Warning: This will be a long entry, but will provide you with some background on who the heck I am and what the heck is my point.
I commented on Mara’s blog, when she posted about making her grandmother’s special tuna recipe. I had also just read Eating Bender’s sad post(my most heartfelt condolences) and it got me thinking about my dad. Now, my dad was not the world’s greatest cook. He learned a lot when my mom went back to work and he was a stay-at-home dad, but this was a man who once made purple chicken. What my dad loved to do was eat. He got an absolute kick out of my culinary abilities and he was a terrific guinea pig.
My dad passed away almost 3 years ago now and I can still hear his voice. The one thing that my dad loved above all was my chicken marsala. He went blind a couple of years before he died, and he was also deaf and confined to a wheelchair. I remember the last time I made it for him and I had to feed it to him because he couldn’t see the bowl and he was frustrated that he couldn’t see the pieces I had cut up for him to stab with his fork. I had made a particularly large batch of the stuff so that he could have leftovers and all that week, he’d ask for it. He’d pretend he was sick of it, but there was always a twinkle in his still blue eyes.
Since he died, I’ve only made chicken marsala once. I was cooking a celebratory meal for my boyfriend. I cried almost the whole time I was making it. I haven’t made it since. I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe someday I’ll post the recipe, though.
Food is powerful. We eat because we are stressed, happy, sad, angry, in love, in lust…and just about everything in between. Sometimes it provokes an emotion. Sometimes food evokes a memory.
My dad is the reason I started on my crazy food journey. He had Type I diabetes, which ultimately led to kidney failure and his death. In 2006, I had hit an all- time high of nearly 230 pounds and he was scared for me. He asked me if I would please take care of myself because his worst fear was that I would end up like him. It was a plea and a potential future I couldn’t ignore, so I took action. I joined Weight Watchers and did the Core program, where I learned to eat lean meats, grains, healthy oils, seafood, and tons of produce. I lost 80 pounds in six months and I felt amazing.
Until the gallbladder attacks hit. I ignored them(BIG no-no)due to a paralyzing fear of doctors and eventually it got so bad, it started to destroy my liver. I had emergency gallbladder removal surgery and while I was recovering, my dad ended up in a nursing home. The last time I saw my dad conscious he told me, “I’m never going to see you again, am I?” He knew his time was coming. Fast forward a couple of months and I got a call at work he had gone into cardiac arrest at dialysis, was in a coma and was most likely not going to make it. I got on the next flight with my brother and my dad died a couple of days later, holding my brother’s and my hands, as it should have been. He was only 49. I was devastated.
I still managed to keep the weight off for over a year. Then I got sick again- The treatment? Steroids. The Result? Functioning, but rapidly gaining weight. So here I am, at 177 pounds, and I’m ready to get back on track. I’m designing jewelry that people other than my mom love, I’m applying to a master’s program in the spring and while I am under a tremendous amount of stress, I KNOW that I will be ok. And THIS is the time to act. This is the time to make the changes. I’ve done it before and I can do it again.