Grief and food. Learning to eat again.

It's been a long time since I wrote here. My life crumbled this year and I'm learning how to rebuild. If you want to read about 2014, check out my other blog. The very short story is that my husband has died. It is as hard as you imagine and often moreso.

One of the challenges grief has brought me hovers around food. I loved cooking for Kevin. As his illness progressed it became more and more difficult for him to eat until finally he no longer could. So cooking lost its joy. Once he died I had no interest in cooking for myself since I associate it so strongly with Kevin. It's been hard. Most of my meals since his death have been eaten out, cooked by friends, or simple to the point of idiocy.

Over the last few weeks I have started cooking again. Not with the complexity and passion I once had, but it's something. A roasted chicken. A salad. A grilled steak. Tonight was the most complex meal I've made since mid-January when he was diagnosed: salmon with mango salsa. It was good. Salmon was one of Kevin's very favorite foods. More than anything I wished I was making it for us both.

I know that part of healing, part of learning to live in this world without him, involves self-care. I need to learn how to care for my body again, how to find pleasure in the world. It means I need to learn how to hold grief and love and nourishment all at the same time. Tonight's meal was a step in that direction.

Salmon tacos with mango salsa.
For Kevin.

1 ripe mango, peeled and chunked
1 shallot, minced
1/2-1 jalapeƱo, seeded and minced
juice of 1/2 a lime
salt and pepper to taste

While the salsa sits (it helps to mesh the flavors) pan sear one large serving (6-8 oz) of salmon in olive oil. Heat the oil enough that the outside gets a little brown and crispy while the inside remains tender. Sear it, then remove from pan and let cool for a moment or two. Divide in half.

Put half the salmon in each corn tortilla (fresh tortillas), divide the salsa between the two. Eat. Enjoy.
Remember that savoring a meal can honor those you love and have lost.

(c) 2014 Laura Packer


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