I’m on a liquid diet these days (I’ll spare you the details of “why”). Fruit smoothies and soup blended to mush fill the stomach and nourish the body but they fail in one regard – they do not nourish the soul.
I miss texture. I miss the crunch of carrots and snap peas, the chewiness of good bread, the juicy explosion of cherry tomatoes, the annoyance of apple peel between my teeth, the fibrousness of a steak.
I miss the variety of flavours. Blended foods are blended flavours. Nothing stands out. Blueberries, bananas, papaya, kiwi become one. Same with stock and lentils and rice and cabbage and whatever other vegetables I put into the soup.
I miss the variety of colour. Stock soup is always brown; cream soup is always white. Fruit smoothies are some form of pinkish-bluish-white (I’m sure the paint stores have a fancy name for that colour).
What I miss most, though, in this time of COVID is the fellowship that attends food.
Food binds us together as family and community. ‘Breaking bread’ with someone may be a simple gesture, something of seemingly no great consequence, rather like hugging someone, but that act signifies so much:
We are friends.
We hold some values in common.
We have shared history and experience.
We can put our differences behind us for just this moment.
We trust each other.
We belong together.
We are part of something larger than ourselves.
All those young people you see on TV who are flocking to bars and beaches once they’re open? – they not just being “COVIDiots.” They are responding to the deep-seated, primal human drive to be with one another. They are celebrating an essential aspect of what it means to be human – to be part of something larger than themselves, to be part of community. Even as I shake my head, wondering “How can they be so careless! So negligent!” I envy them the joy and comradery they are experiencing.
A cup of coffee drunk alone is only a cup of coffee. Shared with a friend, it is laughter, stories, jokes, memories, and plans.
Just as a blended fruit smoothie is no substitute for the joy of eating each fruit individually, neither is food eaten alone a satisfactory substitute for the sense of belonging and oneness and joy that attends food eaten with friends and family.
Until my circumstances change, I will continue to “make do” with a liquid diet. And, until our circumstances change, we will continue to “make do” with vicarious virtual community.
Let’s hope those circumstances change sooner rather than later.
#Smoothies #LiquidDiet #FoodAsCommunity #SharingFood #FoodAndFamily #NotesFromIsolationWard #HumansSocialBeings #LivingInCommunity #Contemplation #Meditation #COVID