“I’m a gluttonous little hole that wants to be filled. I’m hungry for attention, sensation, and most of all, affection; I’m particularly greedy for visceral pleasures. When Mistress Blunt lures me to her witchy hermitage, which requires a subway transfer into and out of Manhattan, she offers me the bounty of her well-stocked kitchen. Last week, my bold trek was rewarded with overstuffed grape leaves and fresh potato salad. The combination went against my rule of eating two major sources of carbs in one meal, but the two dishes were delicious enough to loosen my strictures and bring me back quickly.”
“My relationship with food has always been contentious, but the friends and lovers who feed me are the ones with whom I bond most closely. Being fed makes me feel cared for, and when I am allowed to poke through someone’s pantry, I feel as if I am viewing a personal shrine or the pages of a diary. I glean vital information from the quirky variety of condiments a person keeps. Of course, not everyone keeps a fully stocked kitchen, and in those cases an invitation to dinner can turn into its own adventure. For me anyway, it almost always is.
I have a history of anorexia and bulimia, and I was told throughout recovery that I would never be truly free of my eating disorder; I’ve found this to be true. My intense emotions associated with food make playing with it delicate territory that the emotional masochist in me cannot resist. I desire to be filled, craving that feeling that borders on discomfort, and I feel fear and guilt when I get there. Purging makes me feel equilibrium. The sensation of being hollow and weak while trembling and wiping away tears and snot is as satisfying as it is disturbing. The day after an intense purging scene, my entire body will ache, and I will feel heavy rather than light.
The notion of restriction terrifies me. It prompts me to question the level of control I wield and my desire to lose it, not just in my relationship with food but in all aspects of my life.
A damaged goods gratin seemed like the perfect dish for Mistress Blunt to serve a damaged girl like me. Because it was packed with lots of veggies, I could eat my fill without anxiety. Of course, the dish was not without its “fear food” ingredients, but I know well enough that good flavor calls for variety, just as good nutrition calls for moderation. I like to inhabit extremes, so this moderation thing is a foreign language, but it’s one I know I must learn.
There is an internal tally of calories that runs in my head like a daily ticker tape parade, but my friend’s gossip and banter, and her commands to crawl around half naked on her kitchen floor, does wonders to mute its volume. Like a good Mommy Holefiller, MistressBlunt makes me wait patiently in the corner while she snaps a few photos for her blog. By now, the smell of baked eggplant, tomatoes, and Swiss chard has my stomach growling, and I’m begging her to fill it up.” – Margot