In the mean time, there is food. Naturally, I’ve had some thoughts on the topic since becoming pregnant. It’s been interesting. And humbling. And empowering. And if I’m being honest, frustrating on more than one occasion.
For example, it was absolutely horrendous to be disgusted by my own kitchen for weeks. Weeks. Some days I could barely open the refrigerator to clamor for the water filter before smells escaped. My husband smelled none of them, of course.
I'll spare the details, but suffice to say I spent approximately six to eight weeks unable to cook as usual. Despite the temporary discomforts, I did learn something very important about cooking, namely how absolutely essential it is to me.
During two of the worst weeks we supplemented with boxed or semi-prepared ingredients, items that I haven't relied on since I was in college, and really only consider emergency food. But when I had no energy or drive to cook at the end of a long work day, soup with grilled cheese was our only option after take out pizza and Indian food, which a person can only eat so much of.
It took less than a week of boxed soup, crackers, and jarred pasta sauce for me to start reeling. So much of it was inedible. Although I saw these staples as beacons to guide me through a temporary setback, I quickly turned against them. And in the midst of everything, a profound gratitude settled over me. I have tools. I have hungers. I have a reasonable amount of capability and creativity to make meals from scratch most days of the week. And I don't compromise on ingredients. This is sometimes a more expensive choice, but it's important to both me and my husband, and never has it been more clear than when I couldn’t embrace food in my usual capacity.
One night I felt up for making something simple, and threw together a pureed tomato soup with the following six ingredients: San Marzano tomatoes, carrots, garlic, crushed red pepper, basil, and vegetable stock. It was sublime, and infinitely more layered than the boxed tomato basil soup we disappointedly ingested a few days before. That's the power of real ingredients and real cooking.
I’m happy to report that well into the second trimester, I’m feeling so much better. Well enough to bake a simple cake and share a little poem appropriate for the occasion.