On Nourishment

A few years ago, Ken and I hosted our family Christmas. We had 16 mouths to feed and a handful of picky kids, so the menu chose us: a pasta bar. To the voices of Bing Crosby and David Bowie, we stir butter noodles and simmer heirloom tomatoes and begin to prep the star of the show: a homemade alfredo sauce I’d dogeared months before.

Bee crawls underfoot as I consult the recipe. Ken rummages through the fridge for our ingredients. How many sticks of butter do we need?

I peer down at the cookbook as Bee pulls on my pant leg. It says 16, I say, pulling her up to the counter.

16 sticks? Ken asks. For how many servings?

Umm, 8, I answer.

We stare at each other in disbelief and Ken makes a last-minute grocery run. In truth, it was the best alfredo sauce we had ever tasted, but neither of us could stomach more than a spoonful. We knew what was in it.

Sometimes, often times, your mother’s life and your sister’s life, and your best friend’s life look like an Italian masterpiece. Their vats are creamy and decadent and simmered to perfection, and here you are, just trying to get the toddler to stop licking the fireplace.

But we all know the truth. We know how many sticks of butter are in our alfredo recipe. We all know how hard we have fought, how deep we have loved, how far we have crawled. It’s difficult to stomach more than a spoonful.

Still, we must try. We must try to find nourishment in ourselves, in our own creations. Only then can we taste it and call it good. Only then can we pass it around, saying Careful. There’s a whole lot of butter in here. But it’s worth it.

  • What better way to contemplate life turmoil than over a Bowie song, yes? He’s the king of explaining angst in words that make it sound like heaven, which is why I love him so!
    It’s easy to look at those who seem to have it all and start to rethink your life choices, like a stray who sees a domestic pet and tries to come inside too. But in seemingly perfect circumstances there are struggles (tail-pulling, the vacuum) and things you’d miss about your current ways (the grass between your toes and the sun on your whiskers). No one way is ever perfect but seeing other kinds of good can make us strive to learn and improve. Here’s to aiming for Decadence! But please, first pass the lactaid.

  • What a way to share this message, Erin – I don’t know how you do it, but I do know you blow me away every darn time. Lady, if you ever do find a time to write a book, know that I’d be first in line. Heck, I’d fly across the vast, between-us ocean and buy it from you in person. And I’m still trying to find that nourishment, my friend – trying, working at it, trying, trying (which, I do realise, is far better than not!). Thank you for this. So much!

    • Oh Tori, thank you! (Want to hear a secret? I’m writing one right now!)

      Nourishment is super hard, yes. Affirmations are helping, this week. ;)

  • “and here you are, just trying to get the toddler to stop licking the fireplace.” This made me laugh and laugh. There are phrases like the above or like the rhetorical question I asked my son earlier today, “Are you licking your brother’s toes?” I had no idea would ever come out of my mouth. Toddlers are hilarious, and want to explore EVERYTHING.

    Thanks for the laugh. :-)

  • I don’t know how you always explain things so perfectly, but you do. You are so talented with words! Love this.

    And the licking the fireplace thing had me laughing. Right there with ya.

  • I have said this before and I say it again you are beutiful and inspirational.
    I have a friend , whose life is always so structured in my eyes. She is everything that I want to be. Everytime I see that I tell myself what am I doing wrong? I found my answer after reading this… Thank you so much

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