Inevitably intertwined, are food and life, not just in that you must eat to live, but that in what’s going on in your life will influence what you eat. When I’m sad I eat pasta, it makes me happy – be that the carbs or just the memories attached, depends on who you ask, dietitian or psychiatrist – when it’s cold I want soup. When it rains I crave Chinese food. That one probably seems weird, it’s my grandmother’s doing, a tradition she started that pavloved me and I plan on continuing.
But there is always that more uncomfortable interconnection of life and food – Money.
Right now, and for the past couple of months, money has been tight, and so what I can cook has been limited to that budget. What does the store sell the most of for the least money – Pasta. Which is convenient, a lot of the the dishes I know by heart are pasta based, and I can make them go a long way. Tomato sauce is another staple, and the two together are the basis of a family recipe that my great-great grandmother contrived in the Depression Era to keep her family full.
The first time I made this treasured dish, we just call it Tomato Sauce and Noodles, but each woman in the family has made it her own by adding special things to recipe, I’ll add it here someday, I was probably thirteen, before that I had just helped others make it, my mom, my grand mother. I slowly added my own flare to it over time, and made it my own, while keeping its essence the same. It kept me alive when I first moved out, true to the purpose of the original recipe.
This recipe is my olive branch, my taste who I am food, I made it for my boyfriend one night when he was staying over early on in our relationship and laughed when he was shocked at my mixing of noodles, shell and spiral.
“You do that?” He said,
“Yes. Don’t you?”
But I just chuckled and continued making the food. He loved it, luckily, I recall being so anxious as I sat beside him, watching a comedy special at 2AM, the hot bowl in my lap, watching him eat. “Do you like it?”
“Yeah, it’s great!”
But you know what Pasta is not – when you eat it for every meal that is – ? Healthy. Weight-loss assisting. Having pasta now and again is something I am bound to do, but when me and my boyfriend have no money – which due to my migraines and missed work, has been the case – pasta and other carbs are the cheapest way to make a meal go a mile.
You know what I used to eat more of? Cheese sticks and sweet potatoes. Single Salads.
You know what I eat right now? Pastas and soups. Potatoes and rice’a’roni. There’s just no easier way to make your money work for you.
I’ve gained about fifteen pounds in the past couple months. Not my favorite thing. Between feeling sick and so not working out as much as I used to, to eating completely differently, the weight gain was fairly inevitable. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
So now I have to look at a budget made for unhealthy food, and fit it to healthy food. It’s a challenge, but the good news is it’ll probably lead to some creative recipe discoveries! We’ll see what I come up with!