What food brings me intense joy to eat?, NaBloPoMo asks me today, on this fine and gently sunny winter Friday that I can enjoy a little better now that I am feeling less ill than I was earlier in the week. I am still feeling crappy today, and so distracting myself by writing about good things to eat is an extremely good medicine to take alongside the nettle tea, the litres of water, and the sauna.
Cheese. Oh, cheese. Very little tastes as good to me as a good quality vintage tasty cheese. Oh. Cheese. But me and dairy do not appear to coexist well, and while cheese may taste so good in my mouth, it rankles in my guts. I am beginning to think it tastes better than it ever has before, simply because I know I shouldn't have it.
Which is sometimes the best reason to partake ;) Just a little.
If quitting dairy is an ongoing thing, removing black and white thinking from the equation (ie, not eating dairy equals, well, not ever eating dairy from the day you decide it's to be so) then things are going reasonably well. I have taken to black tea pretty easily. But then quitting milk was never going to be an issue - the thought of it makes me feel a little ill, and has done so for a long time. Rice milk, oat milk, especially almond milk, are very yummy and I don't miss cow's milk at all. But take that very same substance and whip it into a frenzy and I'll love some of that, thanks. Keep whipping it and I'll smother it on toast. Mix it in with some other bits and mature it and do whatever else you do to make cheese, and you have one of the finest substances to grace God's green earth.
That's weird, isn't it? The same substance, and it assumes so many different forms. How creative we people have been over the millennia, experimenting with one particular substance and coming up with so many alchemical alternatives.
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The other food is invisible, doesn't live in the fridge or the pantry, but fills me up with nutrients as if it was chlorella. When I was feeling really bad the other day I got out a charcoal pencil and did some sketches of a picture that had come to me while in the shower (where else?) And so now, with the aid of this man here, I am going to make a few changes of my own while I play along with him and see if I can paint it. Eek!
This other sort of food is more satisfying even than cheese. But it's harder to eat than cheese. I wish that I was forced to do it every day, even when I'm feeling really bad, the way I am forced to eat. But not every day can be a creative day when you are ill. But what about the days when you are well, and you still don't do it? I think you have to actually learn that what you are starving for is it. Self-expression, creatively messing about for the fun and the food of it. And then go do it. There is resistance to be overcome to being creative, which is always a curious thing to me even while I understand it. What fear (of failure, of achievement, of clarity) can ever hope to override the satisfaction that comes when you see something you have made? (And the satisfaction lies not in the dexterity or technique, of which I have little, but in the pure doing itself; being creative is the closest thing to being a child again as I can imagine).
Being creative is like the reverse of eating cheese. Sometimes it rankles in your mouth while you're doing it, a metallic taste, with your critic maybe sitting on your right shoulder whispering sour everythings into your ear. But afterwards, when you've gone away for a day and come back and looked at it again, even with the smudge in its corner and the blobs of stuff over here, and the fact that it is nowhere near the picture you had in your head, regardless of how it actually looks, the fact that it is in front of you is like medicine, tastes as good and intensely joyful in your guts as a big slab of Margaret River. Minus the guilt, the calories and the decrease in kidney function.