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Bon appétit

What are you adding to your meals?

manuelita otero


There was a really tough time in my life in which lunch time was a refuge in the middle of my day. I wasn’t eating away my sorrows, but something happened during that almost magical time because I was able to completely disconnect from the many problems I was having to face.

When I would sit to eat I would be fully in the moment enjoying what was in front of me and the strange recipes my husband would come up with. I would feel a certain weight was lifted. I felt hope. I could relax. Sometimes we would watch sport news, which I love, or listen to music or talk about whatever would come to mind.  I also remember it was the perfect space to talk without rushing with a lady who used to help us back then, and she would tell us about her life and her experiences, and we would share ours. Connections were made, laughs shared, a pause in the day felt like an oasis.

Maybe because these memories are so precious to me, I am very cautious and protective of what we talk about at the table. My family knows me well and they know that in my house when it’s time to eat we don’t talk about sickness, or tragedies, or accidents and especially no negative news.  It can be that we are sharing a sandwich, an ajiaco or a fancy pasta plate, there’s no space for sad news when it’s time to eat. If there’s a tough topic to be discussed, that can wait until the end and be talked over coffee after we have had the opportunity to savor what we needed to savor.

I honestly don’t understand the “conditions” in which many people eat. And I’m not talking about social or economical conditions, because that is, of course, something else, but I mean many eat listening to indigestible and depressing news, or talk about the tragic death of “so and so” or complain about the situation in the world or the city they live in. I just can’t. I believe that food nourishes better the body and the soul when it is accompanied by a joyful conversation or sweet silence.

If you haven’t taken the time to consider this, I invite you to pause and think about what are you seasoning your meals with, what type of conversations are you having, and what thoughts are your companionship. Don’t think about what marketing campaigns are trying to sell you, don’t listen to the “trends” that are telling what to eat and what not to eat or to count calories. Don’t let yourself be swept by the obsession of eating only certain foods. In my case, my obsession has become to eat relaxed and happy.