You may have noticed that I find alliteration appealing. Too true!
But the bigger news is I COOKED TWO MEALS yesterday. As in preheated the oven, chopped some broccoli and cauliflower (but bought precut onions – I’m not that ambitious) and made a sweet potato soup (so-so) and a dish with the aforementioned vegetables that included a sauce with cashews (good for dopamine). This one was also not scrumptious but you’re missing the point. I got off my (aching) behind and cooked. And (sound of blaring trumpets please) I also did a bit of knitting. Yay me!
Some friends suggested that, now that I’m over the hump, I will be preparing splendid repasts as if Ina and Julia were expected for dinner. “See, you did it,” they say. “Now that wasn’t so hard was it?” If I merely pushed myself a little bit more, I’d have these apathy and lethargy things licked, they think.
The American Parkinson’s Disease Association defines apathy as not feeling sad or despondent, but simply lacking interest in doing the things that one formerly found fulfilling. I have a rather odd, love/hate relationship to cooking to begin with. One aspect of my culinary life that I particularly hate is shopping. It doesn’t matter if it’s Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or a middle-of-the-road store like Stop and Shop. So Andi, you’re asking, why don’t you order online and have it delivered? You can guess what’s coming. I hate that (perusing groceries online) even more than going to the actual store.
What prompted the sudden jolt of energy that led me into my kitchen? Truth is, there wasn’t one. I simply tired of takeout. Not to mention the expense. By now, I’ve procured meals from every purveyor in the neighborhood and I actually miss my own cooking, which is pretty, pretty good, recent disappointments notwithstanding.
So, chopping veggies? For the birds. Organizing the herbs and spices? Ditto. Mixing and stirring and assembling ingredients? Not for me. Here’s what I do like about cooking: Imagining how a dish will taste. Finalizing my recipe selections. And, of course, consuming the prepared meal. And after months in which hand rarely gripped knife, with Herculean effort, I shopped and then I cooked, and then I ate. Then I collapsed.
So I won’t be my own personal caterer every day. So what? Our new friend apathy has crashed the party. Should I allow him a perch on the bookshelf, where he stands guard, cackling at my inability to fend him off? (Translation:, I give in and take a nap). Or shall I be the victor, banishing him from my kitchen with the knowledge that he lies in wait to watch me take twice as long as I used to to whip up a few stalks of broccoli that will appear on my plate alongside a shiny brick of salmon.
I remind myself that, when I just can’t seem to find the internal resources to cook, knit, or even work out ( critical in halting disease progression), I refuse to think of it as giving in to sloth. I’m resting and in so doing, I’m taking care of myself. I’m competing with no one for nothing. It’s just me and my kitchen tools or, on a really good day, my treasured knitting needles and nubby yarns, satisfying my creative urges on my own terms. I refuse to self-flagellate for napping when I need to, instead of forcing myself to get to work on that afghan or fix a fine dinner.
So if a well-intentioned friend tells you to just push yourself a little harder and you’ll be doing all the things you used to enjoy, just smile mysteriously and say “ Oh. I am.”
Yay, a new show that fits the bill, mood- and content-wise. It’s Fleishmann is in Trouble, from the book (read. enjoyed) by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, the brilliant, witty, insightful New York Times writer. If you like a good divorce/mid-life crisis show, check it out on Hulu.