Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sudden Loss of Appetite

This time when I went to the UK something was Not Right. I'm fed up travelling because I have to do it so often, but I can usually enjoy my trips for two things 1) family and friends 2) sharing food with family and friends.

One was present in abundance, but two just didn't capture my imagination, and I can usually not get enough of London's international cuisine. Usually I plan in advance that this time I would like to try so and so cuisine from that country, look up the restaurants and go armed with this info to innocent coffees with friends before casually asking if anyone's hungry because I've heard of this great place etc. etc.

I usually love food, revel in its complex flavours and soak up the love I can taste in my mother's cooking. But this time, nothing. Zip. Somewhere along the road I lost my food mojo. I got hungry, starving even, but had no appetite. There was nothing that came to mind as in "If I could eat that I would be satisfied." Whatever I thought of I sought out, and when I got it I didn't want it.

My mother was beside herself as if you know me, you know what a freakishly healthy appetite I usually have and also that I can't exactly afford to lose any weight. But what could I do? Nothing brought my appetite back, and so I ate literally enough to keep me going but whatever I put into my mouth might as well have been cardboard. Was I missing Mr Zeus too much to eat? I don't know, this has never happened before.

My relationship with food seriously soured, and I have yet to get it back. Yesterday after a third day of feeling like death I decided I couldn't be complacent any longer. I love food too much and if I lost my passion for food, what would follow next? I lead so heavily with my stomach that pretty much everything else branches off from that.

Being in a patient mood, I opted to take things slowly. We were low on ground pepper so I raided the spice cupboard and sniffed various jars along the way. There is cardamom that reminds me of festivals, tangy smelling paprika from Tunisia, heady fenugreek seeds, chilli powder that gives off a scent like it was sleeping and is mad that you woke it up. I poured black peppercorns into the pestle and mortar and pounded away, enjoying the peppery, lemony aroma.

The flat sort of turns into a bachelor pad when I am away so I tried to find something I could eat, something that would capture my imagination. I spied two forsaken oranges on the counter top and inspiration struck. What better way to kick start my depressed taste buds than a sweet orange eaten Home Country style with chilli powder and salt?

It never occurred to me how weird it was to put chilli powder and salt over your fruit until I left the Home Country. But there it's the most normal thing in the world. Our mother would set us off to the fruit market with an empty jug where we would get a man to fill it up with freshly squeezed oranges, finishing it off with a dash of salt and pepper.

My little experiment did help somewhat, and when Mr Zeus came home we jumped in the car and headed to the local fruit and vegetable shop. There I bought a colourful combination and decided to try something new. I bought three large quinces (kudoni). I’ve never eaten quince before but after reading Pim’s blog I thought since it was the season, and I needed my gastronomic fires relit, trying something totally new might be helpful.

Anyway today I have some colour back in my cheeks so I don’t think all is lost. My food mojo should be returning soon and in the meantime I will keep tasting, sniffing, combining and inventing. Of course it does help that Mr Zeus is a ridiculously good cook.


deviousdiva said...

"food mojo", love that.
Hope you get it back VERY soon!


Anonymous said...

with all respect in the world do a pregnancy test asap, from skotzesa

bollybutton said...

Hi Skotzesa, thanks for the advice but I am 100% sure that's currently not the problem. I won't go into details, but you know what I mean!

Blackbird said...

Mmm... I remember spending ages making the perfect blend of chilis, salt and sugar to dip my green mangoes in.
I think the whole 'sweet & salty & spicy & sour' thing is something most people need to try. I mean, in America they eat fruit with their meat (cranberry sauce with turkey, pineapple rings with sausages) so I don't see why my friends balk when they see me sprinkle salt over my pineapple. Sigh.

But I have to admit your orange and chili thing sounds a little strange... How did it taste?

AL said...

1. Homemade garlicky tomato pasta tossed with fresh parleys and hot pasta - add some white wine and cayenne pepper if adventurous.
2. Hot & Spicy tomyam - hot and sour and salty! with noodles
3. vanilla ice cream with nuts and banana and hot chocolate
4. feta and fried potato omelette with tabasco
5. cream, cheese, turkeyham baked pasta casserole
6. dry instant noodles with a soft boiled egg
7. french/ bombay toast - bread soaked in egg, milk and condensed milk, then fried in butter
8. spicy ox tail soup with hot fresh french loaf
9. dosai with dhal
10. grilled salmon with broiled potato with butter, lemon , chive dressing


betabug said...

Next time we'll have Fondue here, I'll invite you and Mr. Zeus over. A kilo of melted cheese should bring your appetite back for sure :-)