I Want My Life Back
This spicy, sweet, glazed Thai pork candy made by my neighbor Tum is one of my favorite flavors in the world, although I might never taste it again. Or will I?
It’s the season, but I eat neither fig nor nectarine. What if I did?
In this new life, this diabetic, low carb life, what I eat is meat,
meat. And as you might have gathered, what I really love is
giant piles of vegetables,
and fruits. Every vegetable, every fruit, every meal, that’s the life I like. Wait, I take it back. I’ll skip the kohlrabi and purslane, please.
Oh, and also I love to bake bread, although that’s not really necessary in France,
and I love to bake pastry, which, of course, is also not necessary in France, but that’s beside the point. It’s fun to do, and I miss it.
I could make all these foods and feed them to you, but I wouldn’t share them with you. And what’s food without sharing? “It’s fuel,” they say, “stop thinking about food all the time.” But sometimes it seems like the fun of making and sharing beautiful food is more important than anything.
But the rest of the time it’s this simple thing, having blood that looks like non-diabetic blood, that matters more than anything. Not going blind, losing my toes or feet, not being on dialysis, that’s what matters. Even if it means that when you come to my house you’ll be eating lots of meat.
I remember when my heart was light, long ago, far away.
I remember when I could cook what I wanted, then eat it.
I remember eating out when my only question to the server was “what’s the most interesting thing on the menu?” and not “is there any sugar in that?”
I’m not saying that I don’t love my eyes and my feet and my kidneys, because you know I do. But when Dr. Kim looks at my careful graph of how I’ve made my blood sugar fall and fall until it looks practically like normal blood sugar, and she says “in all my years in practice no patient of mine has ever done what you’ve done” I’m thinking “yeah, and probably none of them can cook like I do, either.” Like I did, I remind myself, cook like I did.
Because now I have a new life and it’s a blood-based life. Not spontaneous, not whimsical, not driven by a passion for playing in the kitchen nor by my desire to bring pleasure to my guests. Nope, now it’s all about the blood, and the sweat, because walking miles every day is no longer optional: diabetics must exercise. And it’s about the tears, because they’re not optional either.
I want my old life back, tattered though it might have been, because it was mine, a cook’s life, and I loved it.
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