Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, is the story of a young American woman who falls in love and marries a Frenchman. The other part of the title is “A Love Story With Recipes”.
The first time I looked at the title my very first impression was “I can’t cook”, and that was my overwhelming impression throughout the book, so I thought I would just go with that.
When I tell you I cannot cook, I do not mean I am “culinary challenged”. Well I am, but that isn’t what I mean. The fact is for over three years now, I have become too disabled to cook.
To cook would mean to actually get out of bed, that’s a big problem right there. Walking, standing, those basics, are my next issues. I am too tired, too dizzy, too nauseous and in too much pain to be in an upright position for very long.
I suffer from Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Anxiety…you get my point. And now I have this new, as yet undiagnosed back pain that lately has been trumping everything else.
Even if I was capable of standing, had the energy and did not have the pain, chopping up vegetables is very painful on my joints due to Lupus. Touching meats, frozen or cold, is agonizing, much less putting my hands in to a cold mixture to make something like a meatloaf due to having Raynaud’s Disease.
And then there is the clean-up. As I write, several pots and pans of which I have “cooked” eggs and grilled cheese need my attention. As well as a whole sink full of dishes.
It’s been weeks since I have cooked a “real” meal.
How do I get by? For many months I ordered from a service that would provide me with home cooked meals for my family of three. This became cost-prohibitive so I had to stop it. Sometimes a dear friend will make me a meal, sometimes my mother comes to visit and makes all our meals. Lately, I have been blessed with an angel who has cooked five meals that can last for fifteen meals, she cooks for an army. My last resort is ordering in; pizza, Chinese, Mexican, throw away the containers and repeat. This is extremely expensive as well.
I wouldn’t care so much for myself or for my husband. I don’t have much of an appetite these days and force myself to eat anything, even if it is just Oreos. My husband thinks Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is a gourmet meal. We are both sick, putting more crap into our bodies is not going to make much difference.
But you see, I have a little boy who is four-years-old and he MATTERS. Before I was sick, I would seek out organic vegetables, pour over kid-friendly recipes and proudly serve my family healthy meals. I simply cannot do that any more, but Tyler and Grant are very adaptable. To his credit, Grant, God bless him, never fails to say, “That was a good dinner, honey”, even if I have just heated a Rotisserie chicken and microwaved some rice.
I, along with many sick moms and wives like me, have enormous guilt over not being able to cook. Grant is ill too, so count him out on helping me. He has OCD so badly, he can’t even wash dishes.
Between the cooking, not being able to walk around a city like Paris, and knowing that I will never be able to travel like that again, I didn’t very much like Lunch in Paris.
But that is just the “sick me” talking.