Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Sorry! I'm allergic": A Parallel of Food and People

"Sorry! I'm allergic."

So, someone mentioned to me the other day that our relationship to food is a lot like our relationship to people.

As I thought about this, the more it seemed to apply to me.

For those of you that aren't aware, I am allergic to... a lot of things. Basically how it works is, the more I eat of a food, the more my body builds an intolerance to it, which develops into a full-blown allergy. I am naturally VERY allergic to some things, moderately allergic to others, and other foods I just have to keep on a rotation so I don't react to them as much.

Also, I am an aspiring chef.

These things do not blend well.

So, back to the food/people analogy:

--I have rarely met a food I didn't like, or at least appreciate. However, as previously mentioned, there are a lot of foods that don't like me, or at least, that can only handle me every once in a while. That one is pretty self-explanatory.

--I don't often remember what food tastes like. Odd, eh? I remember what it smells like; I remember it is "good," or "odd," or "Blends well with tomato," or "Tastes like the color teal, with a bit of a clarinet-y aftereffect" (not kidding) but I don't often remember exactly what it tastes like. This is good in that I don't get fatigued of a food very quickly--it always seems new and delicious--but I sometimes don't do a good job of rotating food. Therefore, the food gets annoyed at me (allergies flare and cause problems) before I remember to rotate around. Sometimes I wear out friendships in a similar fashion; I love just spending time with people--hanging out yesterday doesn't satisfy me today, with some things. I just remember I liked it yesterday, and why not do it again today? This can cause problems, as people often need to take me in smaller doses.

Cheese is a food that doesn't often bother my system (not like regular milk or other dairy). This is great, as it is usually a pretty safe food for me, but if I eat too much of the same kind, especially consistently over long periods, it starts to get irritated and decides to make me ill. Usually there is very little warning. I just eat it as usual, and then as soon as it hits my tummy I know I crossed the line.

--Sometimes I'm a little wary of trying new things for myself because I don't know how my body will react to it. I will cook with new things and feed it to other people, if I have some experience with the food, or someone who knows it well can describe it accurately. I am, however, very wary of what I actually consume. This applies to people in that I will work with people quite easily, even in things like matchmaking, if I know enough about them. However, I am very careful about who I actually let in as friends.

--Sometimes, I eat food even that I'm really allergic too, because I remember it being my favorite. Take, for example, peanut butter. Or chocolate. Delicious foods, and for much of my life, my allergy to them was minor. I remeber growing up with them--we had great times, peanut butter and I. Chocolate and I, too, for that matter. But as I grew up and developing the allergy, I knew eating them would mess me up. I would convince myself it was worth it, that it wasn't that bad. Sometimes my body wouldn't react at all, but many times I paid heavily for eating them. Same with some people. I remember growing up together and being perfectly fine (or just not realizing I was having a problem). I would continue to include these people in my life even after they messed me up (many times, badly), because I remembered all the good times.
Moral of the story: Sometimes things change. So do people. So do I.

--I often cook for other people. I love putting combinations together and making people happy. Sometimes I can eat it, sometimes I can't. When I can't eat it, I like having cheese and crackers for dinner, or cheese with a little bread and fruit, or--if my allergies are flaring really badly--just cheese. With people, I love throwing parties. I get different groups of people together, combine them in different ways in different environments, and see what happens. Sometimes I like to be part of the party, but oftentimes, I would just prefer to host and let everyone else have fun. And have cheese for dinner.

--I really like making bread, but wheat is one of my top allergies. I understand bread, and how all the ingredients work together to get a particular kind of loaf. I'm not a fan of store-bought, stereotypical bread, though it does have its place in the world. However, I do not know very much about cheese. I know which flavors are my favorite, which ones smell bad, and what they blend best with (aka i know how to use the cheese) but I know relatively little about the inner workings of cheese, as I have only experienced it as a consumer. I am well on my way to becoming an amateur connoisseur of cheese, however, because of consuming it frequently and having been exposed to a wide variety of excellent flavors, textures, origins, and uses of cheese. There does still seem to be a bit of mystery, though, as I have never experienced it on a personal level, like I have bread. I certainly do not have a favorite flavor, though I do have favorites in specific culinary situations, as well as a type or two I like for frequent, day-to-day snacking.

There is more to this analogy. However, this post is already really long, so I'll save it for tomorrow.

1 comment:

Rissa said...

Sabina, this was really insightful. Some parts were deeper than others. I was really getting layers of meaning and it was very interesting. Thanks for sharing.