The Dinner Diaries Introduction: Food Fight

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Maya comes upstairs Sunday morning to interrupt my meditation. "Mommy, Mommy, I have good news," she tells me excitedly. "Zack likes fried cheese!" She thinks this is good news because Zack is the only one in the family who doesn't like cheese, and this complicates things sometimes, as if life wasn't already complicated enough. He wouldn't eat pizza until he was seven, and while I can't say this kept me up at night, it did make for some awkward moments at birthday parties.

So, trying to stay in the meditative moment, I sigh, get out of bed because I meditate lying down under the covers - "I think they used to call that a nap," my husband, Andy, says - and come downstairs to find Zack sprinkling shredded cheese into an oiled pan until it comes together in a greasy, brown-edged clump. "Aren't you happy I like healthy, delicious fried cheese, Mom?" he taunts, then laughs wickedly. I shake my head and walk away; otherwise, I might do something I'll regret, like pick up the plate and dump its contents into the sink.

I'd always thought food was pretty straightforward: you're hungry, you eat; you're not, you don't. Then I became a mother.

To hear this excerpt read by the author (er, me), click on the crazy headphone graphic below: