A Pie In the Eye

12 Jun

I went to the farmer’s market despite the sweltering heat.  I bought one vine ripened tomato that actually smelled like a tomato and the earth it came out of.  I couldn’t resist the fresh corn, even though I’m concerned about my consumption of corn, high fructose syrup and otherwise.  There were fresh cucumbers, plums and cantaloupe.  Melting in the heat, I didn’t stay as long as I hoped, but I returned with my reuseable bags full of fresh veggies.

After a cool shower, I decided to watch a documentary.  I figure I’ll spend the summer indoors, too delicate to handle this southern heat.  I stumbled upon A Pie in the Sky:  The Brigid Berlin Story.  I found it timely and eye opening.  It wasn’t so much about this woman who was an artist, an Andy Warhol muse, but the eating disorder she had suffered with since childhood.  It was anguishing watching her as a sixty year old who measured every bite, called in her daily food to a sponsor and then spiraled out of control with a key lime pie binge that left her dejected and depressed.

Here I am wanting to reclaim my love of food, and Brigid is tortured by it.  Her weight is her enemy and food has become both a crutch and a punishment.  It made me wonder what percentage of Americans aren’t on a diet.  Probably a very small number of those who don’t care about their weight.  There are blogs devoted to dieting and it is indeed a billion dollar industry.  The funny thing is that it is widely  believed diets do not work. 

Brigid Berlin was a case study in this fact.  She had been dieting since childhood and a patient at the most expensive diet clinics around the world.  She had endured hypnotists, fasting and an amphetamine addiction.  All in an effort to be thinner.  To not want the food she tried to deprive herself of.  Then there she was at sixty, still struggling, still bingeing.  She was thinner, but a prisoner to her scale.  Standing in her kitchen she was chopping up beautiful heads of romaine lettuce.  She ate her salad without tasting it, just shoved it into her mouth after carefully measuring every addition to it.  I thought about the girl she had been who had once loved food before it became the very thing that added to her misery.

I ate a plum after watching the movie.  Slowly and with my eyes closed.  It was juicy and the flesh was red and it tasted like the plums of my youth.  It was sweeter and more satisfying than any candy bar could ever be. 

Food is there to be loved.  It’s like people I suppose.  You can love the ones that are good for you, that nourish you and that make your life more fulfilling.  Or you can love the ones that leave you starved, that aren’t good for you and make your life a misery.  A relationship with food has to be as healthy as a relationship with someone should be.

 I’ll still want my fruity pie with flaky crusts and vanilla bean ice cream.  Except I’ll eat it with relish and never once think about the calories I’m ingesting.  What a novel idea.  Let’s see if it’s achievable. 

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