Sunday, September 19, 2010

On Not Eating

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, which among other things is a fast day for any even mildly observant Jew. My fast, which usually takes place in Northampton, sitting out at the Chesterfield Gorge, was a little quick and strange this year.

Stacey, Avi, Matt and I went to Purple Yam, and then to services at Temple Beth Emeth in Ditmas Park.

My actual fast was a little curtailed, as I had to lead two tours starting at 7:30pm, but it still left me some time to reflect. While I certainly do get light-headed and cranky from the dip in blood sugar, the largest change I notice on Yom Kippur is the change in my activities. I'm the sort of person who gets out of bed planning what to have for breakfast, and so it goes all through the day. I'm not obsessed with eating, per se, but with buying, planning, and preparing food. My daydreams are often cooking-related, as are my non sequitors.

Full disclosure: Yesterday was by no means a day with no thought of food. I baked at Lily & Fig in the morning, shopped at the farmers market, and made a tiramisu for a friend's birthday. Still, I noticed all day the strangeness of not eating, the absence of the hundred little choices to make. It was the greatest of pleasures to end a day of fasting with a carefully selected meal, niagara grapes and cider doughnut standing in for the more traditional wine and bread. All today I have enjoyed selecting my food with care, enjoying the variety and the pleasure that it brings to my life. I don't want to become one of those people whose conversation only runs on one topic, or whose activities all follow the same pattern (more than I already am), but I do love the daily process of feeding myself and my loved ones, and I'm lucky to have the chance and the talent to do it well.

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