I’ve been writing some quite in-depth/heavy posts lately and felt a real urge to inject a little lightness. Recently when my colleagues at work were talking about content that inspires them, an article about food came up that was literally just about that – food.
It wasn’t shrouded in health statistics or offered as a precursor to physical benefits. There were no numbers, no morality attached, nothing. It was an article written by people who love food, talking about the food they love.
It inspired me to think about some of the dishes that truly bring me joy and I thought it would be fun to write about, exploring what it is about the dishes that nourishes my soul so much.
As you’ll know if you’ve been following my blog for a while, my relationship with food has a complex past, peppered with eating disorders and self-hate. Now, I have an intuitive approach to eating and essentially, eat what I want. And it’s working out pretty damn well.
Before we get into the dishes themselves, I want to caveat that while I am a big lover of food, I *hate* cooking. So if you’re after fancy recipes here, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place. If you want to hear why the following (simple) meals and snacks inspire joy however, keep reading.
Peanut butter on bagels
Peanut butter on toasted bagels has been mine and Dan’s weekend breakfast of choice for a long time now. Before we lived together, we would rarely get chances to enjoy breakfast in bed together and when we did it was accompanied by the background hum of our families gearing up for the day.
I remember when we were house hunting, I focused in on this thought, how nice it would be to have a peaceful breakfast in bed every weekend.
And that’s exactly what we do. Saturday mornings Dan will get up, slice the bagels, slather them in peanut butter and make coffee. He’ll bring it to bed where we’ll stay, sometimes for a couple of hours, chatting, watching TV and enjoying each others company. Sundays I’ll get up, head to the kitchen to repeat the process.
Smashed avocado on toast with chorizo
The ultimate millennial dish I know, but hey – I love it. It’s the creaminess of the avocado cut with the saltiness of the chorizo that just gets me every time. While the bread is toasting, I’ll cut up the avocado into satisfying little cubes before smushing it in a bowl with a masher. A drizzle of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and it all comes together like paint on a canvas.
Chopping the chorizo while throwing the odd slice into my mouth, the toast pops and I assemble my masterpiece. Often this dish signifies the halfway point of my day, usually a break from the to-do list and a moment to enjoy nothing but taste and texture.
Ice cream with Nutella on the side
A childhood favourite that I recently introduced to Dan, if you haven’t tried this before – I implore you, do it! Best served with chocolate or vanilla ice cream, a generous dollop of Nutella gives ice cream a different dimension.
Compared to the ice cream it’s warm, rich and gooey… cosying up on the spoon together, the consistencies marry together perfectly and remind me of simpler times. Of course the other benefit of having Nutella in the cupboard is that whenever the mood strikes, you can dip a teaspoon in and take a glorious, sticky mouthful.
After lunch at work I’ll go to the fruit box and peruse what’s on offer. If there’s a clementine left, I’ll grab it excitedly alongside a piece of kitchen roll and take it back to my desk. Peeling the skin I’ll take care to get as much of the white stuff off as possible, glancing up at my screen but not really taking anything in.
Pulling apart the segments, I’ll inhale the scent and smile. Finding something to read, whether a piece from a colleague that needs proofreading, emails that came in over lunch or a bookmarked article, I’ll take some time to read, eat and breathe before going head-first into the next task on my list.
Fajitas are one of the simplest dinners out there, but man, I just love them. Dan and I will often make them together, he’ll handle the chicken while I chop the veggies.
Once everything’s cooked, we’ll make up our fajitas, undoubtedly overstuffing them and making a horrendous mess while we do so. We’ll put on a series from Netflix and I’ll comment on the speed and number of fajitas eaten by Dan.
I’ll eat mine, leaning over the plate and somehow still managing to drip sauce on my top, swearing under my breath with every spill.
Tuna melt toastie
If I’m going to a cafe for lunch, there’s one thing and one thing only I’m looking for – a tuna melt. The strong taste of tuna cushioned by melted cheese and warm toasted bread never fails to make my mouth water. Often purchased alongside a hazelnut mocha, I’ll either sit in the cafe to people watch, or take myself outside to enjoy alone.
However much I try to replicate this dish at home, it’s never the same.
And I actually quite like that. To me, going out for lunch is a treat and there’s nothing more treat-like than a tuna melt toastie.
I could, genuinely, write an entire blog post about brownies. I’m not sure what it is about brownies that captures my heart so much, but they… just, speak to me. Maybe it’s their decadent cake-like texture with chunks of rich chocolate and the occasional surprise crunch of a walnut.
There’s a market stall near us my sister introduced me to recently. They sell big slabs of brownie that are perhaps the best I’ve ever tasted. Handing over cash and taking one home is becoming a wonderful habit. Making a cup of chai tea before settling down, I’ll pull the brownie out of its brown paper bag and think to myself “I’ll never eat all of that”.
And I will always, always finish the whole thing in one sitting, patting my belly afterwards and feeling nothing but impressed with myself.
Well, that’s over 1000 words on food and it felt pretty amazing to write. It’s when we go a little deeper to pick apart why we love certain dishes that we see what it’s really about. It’s rarely about the food itself. It’s what it represents, the routine attached to it, the people involved.
To me as well, it’s about the ability to enjoy food in such a pure, unashamed way. It’s about being able to eat without fear, without concern for how it’s going to affect my body.
If your sense of worth is tied up with food and body image, take a look at my self-worth coaching package and see if it’s an approach that could support you, (though please keep in mind I’m not a counsellor or mental health expert).
What’s a dish that brings you joy? Let me know in the comments!
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