In an attempt to indulge in procrastination and divert attention from the work I knew I should be doing, I climbed into bed the other evening with a glass of a good Oregon pinot noir and a grilled chocolate sandwich (a Belgian bittersweet melted between thin slices of Shadeau Bakery's ciabatta) and opened a dusty box retrieved from the attic containing 30 years of journals.
Four hours and the entire bottle of pinot later; I had devoured little pink books with broken locks, one Nancy Drew diary, three diaries with Beatles photos (I sequentially titled them "Here," "There" and "Everywhere"), stacks of spiral-bound, college ruled notebooks (very seriously titled "One" through "Ten"), a thick black leather book with laces (perhaps not by coincidence my bondage/marriage period), Ren and Stimpy (the "Happy Happy Joy Joy" journal) and Japanese silk-covered books (the "Seeker" series).
A portrait of child-woman-mother-partner and her many relationships emerged with one common ingredient weaving all of the entries together — food (not a terribly profound insight considering I began this tale with details of the snack that accompanied my dallying).
From notations on meals (even at age 12, I critiqued school lunches and our family meals), drawings (usually originating from a food stain on the page and involving a "Vision Diffuser," as I noted in one entry), to comprehensive lists of "People That Taste Good," "People That Taste Bad" and the revealing "People That Taste Bad and Should Have Spit Out But Didn't and Now I Have A Stomach Ache," my chronicled life is a roller coaster ride through the culinary fun house.
From a pre-adolescent zealot and future pastry chef: "I really really really LOVE LOVE LOVE sugar!!!! Especially the butter and sugar sandwiches I make in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. Important!!!: Remember to leave the butter out before I go to bed so it softens a little and is easier to spread. More Important!!!!!: Hide the butter behind dad's sardine cans in the pantry. No one will find it." Clearly I was quite high on the stuff when I wrote this.
Boyfriends were (and still are) measured by their ability to feed me (obvious psycho-pop analysis here). An entry from my mid-twenties as I wrestle with the probabilities of a six-month relationship: "Despite his rock-star status, sexual appetite and ability to complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in under an hour, I cannot get over that the boy wears candy-colored, horizontal stripes, uses his oven to store comic books, and refuses to eat any other cheese than Velveeta." Bye-bye, Rock star.
Even travel memories were coated in gastronomia: A hote was "a large, white mansion with ornate balustrades of cakework pastillage that looked as if they could be nibbled; the marble floor in the lobby a cool and elegant gin martini; from my room a view of the frothy, pink frosting beach." Gawd! Add a lusty, busty protagonist, and you've got a novel consigned to oblivion. At times sweet, others poignant, most often hilarious, it's been an odyssey of hunger and sustenance.