Monday, November 15, 2010

Food Writing As Therapy--Who Knew?

Less than 10 minutes after I posted my last entry, Pink Surprise, which wound up being about the demise of Britling's Cafeteria, I realized from a technical standpoint that I could have taken my writing to the next level and tied in the passing of my beloved grandmother, which happened around the same time.

And then the emotions hit, like I'd just been whacked with a 50-lb bag of flour.

My post was really about the loss of my grandmother, and my know, the one that didn't cook.

The thing about my mother is, she is still living. In fact, she lives with me and Chicago Man although when we move back to Chicago she will be going into a senior facility.

I'm fortunate in that my mother is only showing very early signs of dementia, but yet, the vibrant, witty, designer-clad woman who raised me is long gone.

What's left is a mother who never leaves the house except for a doctor's appointment and therefore wears the same ratty and sometimes dirty, housecoats and robes day after day; a mother who is in chronic pain and complains all the time, and a mother who never says thank you for anything I do, and who takes no interest in my health, my career, my life or really anything to do with me.

Therefore, I also am in chronic pain.

Yet, she dotes on the cats. She feeds them delectable treats, worries and frets endlessly if one of them sneezes, and talks to them constantly.

Yes, reader, I have resented my cats at times.

What occurred to me today, though, after writing my post, is that maybe she does not take any interest in me because if there is the slightest, least little thing wrong with me...a sneeze, a cut on my finger...her security and safety are threatened.

After all, she is dependent on me for everything: buying her groceries, taking her to doctor's appointments, ordering and picking up her prescriptions, driving 90 minutes round trip for her Merle Norman cold cream that she's been using since the 1940s...

The only thing she is not dependent on me for is cooking, oddly enough, although what she does could hardly be called cooking. She is supposedly on a "no-salt" diet laid out by a cardiologist nearly 10 years ago, so she mostly eats cheap cuts of meat broiled on the George Foreman grill, frozen or canned vegetables with no seasoning, boiled potatoes, bread, the occasional scrambled egg, and lots and lots of peanut butter.

Ok, and if anyone out there is thinking I should be doing her cooking, let's look at it this way: this is her last stand at independence.

But when we get ready to move her into a senior facility, I'm picking the one that has the best food.

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