Sleeping with the enemy

I was going to write about Easter this week. Marc and I crafted a pretty legit spread on Sunday–foie gras, thick cut pork chops, gravy drenched egg noodles, a perfectly cooked zucchini frittata–and I even made him wait to eat so that I could take glorious photos. 

We ate the foie gras with fig jam and olive crackers; it was salty and powerful in flavor and felt, quite frankly, like we shouldn’t be eating it (as most delicacies do). Marc ate an absurd amount of it; I was too busy sweating over the ginormous pork chops to truly indulge.

I made a rub using front-yard rosemary, turbinado, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and fresh garlic for the meat, letting it sit at room temperature for a few to absorb the flavors. With a quick, 3-4 minute sear on each side in a smoky pan, and quick stint in the oven (6 minutes or so), the two-inch thick monstrosity was juicy with sweet and herbaceous crust. It was the kind of thing you pick up with your hands to polish off, leaving a mess on your face that you are 100% ok with.

We finished the meal with an old favorite from college, something I like to call the “Oreo truffle,” which is so beautifully simple it makes sense that our baby college selves made it so damn often. They are cream cheese, crushed up Oreos, and crack. I topped them with Maldon flake sea salt because everything is just better with that stuff on top, and wow.

THEN, Monday happened. 

We both felt nauseous when we woke up (for different reasons, we would later discover); we both ended up couch-ridden by 2 p.m., home from work in aching pain.

Marc had food poisoning from too much foie gras; my heartburn was back, with a vengeance.

Last December, my body turned on me. Chalk it up to getting older, or maybe to genetic predisposition, but the heartburn/ulcer/chronic abdominal pain I was feeling was REAL, and it was messing with me. Suddenly, for the first time maybe ever, I truly had to STOP myself from eating the things I wanted. I took pills for a while, drank a lot of green juice, and then went back to my normal life. 

Easter, or perhaps the months or weeks leading up to it, sent my system back to its unfortunate previous state.

I’m writing this for all of those who have some kind of dietary restriction, self-imposed or not, because coming from someone who truly loves food, saying NO is an incredibly difficult thing to do, even when saying YES means the fetal position in your office medical room.

I still don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t have a diagnosis to speak of, just a collection of prescriptions and an order to stay away from grease, spice, alcohol and caffeine. These are all things I should probably limit anyway, and eating healthier is not something I despise, not even close. I’d say the worst part about it has nothing to do with eating at all, as my next few posts will prove. Instead, the real rub is how often you have to explain your own eating (and drinking) decisions to those around you.

I appreciate the taste of alcohol. I want to taste the bourbon in my Manhattan; I want to taste the earth and sun in my wine; I want a punch that truly lives up to its name. So believe me, when you see me without a drink in my hand, it’s not because your cocktail doesn’t look fan-fucking-tastic. But please, please, don’t make me talk about my stomach at a bar at 11 p.m. Same goes for the tray of croissants in my face at the office or the French fries with freakin garlic aioli in the center of the table. No means no, and I mean it this time, and I don’t need to explain why. Gluten free folks, vegans, serious dieters: I know you’ve been there too.

So, consider this the first and last time that I discuss my little ailment here. No one likes a whiny foodie. There will be fried delicacies in my future, handcrafted cocktails and plenty of Thai food; I just need to work on finding a balance. Food will never be my enemy. We’ve been through too much together.

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