What’s for dinner?
I have become obsessed with food.
Many people assume that I have long been obsessed with food. After all, I have reviewed restaurants for nearly 10 years for this website and alongside that have developed a thriving Instagram and Twitter following for my food porn, @table41please on those two platforms. Most of my photos are either restaurant food or me plating up food in my own house. Well, also cocktails and and wine – but for me those are also integral parts of the food experience.
Still, despite all of that, food has been important to me but certainly not the central focus of my life. I would never say that I have been obsessed with food – until this pandemic.
It’s almost all I ever think about now. I think about shopping, about not wanting to deal with stupid people while shopping, about using food delivery services, about ordering for delivery, about ordering curbside pickup from my favorite restaurants. I wake up thinking about what I am going to cook during the day and even while I am eating I am thinking about meal planning for the next meal.
At the end of the evening, I often set up all the pots and pans for the next morning’s breakfast, and I do that during the day between meals. I have become a stickler for efficient and effective mise en place. Rarely used items in my kitchen have come out of mothballs and are now being used – my pasta machine, the ice crusher, toaster . . . and all of my long-unused baking supplies. I even ordered some cake pans and have stocked up on flour and sugar in preparation for some serious baking in my near future.
FYI – I haven’t baked in years. Decades actually. Now, I am becoming fascinated by it and tomorrow when I have another grocery delivery I have ordered milk, whipping cream, and brown sugar so that I can pull out an old family cookbook and make my Great Aunt Margaret’s famous pound cake with my Great Aunt Ruth’s famous caramel frosting. I only have me to eat it – but luckily it freezes well so hopefully I will be able to share some soon.
A few days ago, I actually took out a legal pad and made a full inventory of what I had in my freezer, refrigerator, and pantry. I then started checking things off as I ate them and put stars next to the things that were most perishable and needed to be consumed first. I have cleaned out and reorganized my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry twice in the past month.
Today, I decided to clean a few cabinets and ended up taking every single thing out of every single cabinet in my kitchen. I wiped things down and then rearranged everything in order to create a more ergonomic and accessible kitchen for food preparation.
What’s this all about?
I sat down to think about it as I worked on this post tonight and I finally think I know. It’s about control. I have no control over most elements of my life right now. The only things I can control are domestic – deciding what to wear, cleaning my apartment, choosing how I spend my time online, reading, writing . . . and food.
All of this obsession on shopping, ordering, planning, cooking, plating, and photographing of food is an attempt to feel in control of something. Anything. I need to feel like I am not at the mercy of outside forces in some tiny area of my life.
So I have chosen to focus my control issues on food. I hope – intensely – that my clothes all continue to fit and that I don’t have to buy anything new due to weight gain. But at the moment, I can’t worry about that. After all, I finished dinner an hour ago and now I have to decide what to have for breakfast.
I think I’ll pour another glass of wine and find something to snack on now while I plan out tomorrow’s meals.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.