I was trying to come up with a clever title, but title-making is not a strength, and besides — being clever shouldn’t be an effort. Either you are, or you aren’t. In my case, sometimes I am and sometimes I aren’t.
I know I’ve been MIA for a while — that’s no secret — but I’m going to tell you why: I’ve fallen out of love with food. It’s not what you’re thinking. A good recipe still sends me rushing to the kitchen, and a lovely dish set in front of me still makes me feel as bubbly as a glass of pêche lambic. The first thing I think about when it comes to my book group is what we’re going to eat, and making my grocery list for the week is my favorite household chore. The thing is, my body doesn’t agree with me.
Since February, I’ve been feeling sick — specifically I’ve been nauseous, I’ve been vomiting and I’ve been having crazy pain in my abdomen… Basically, most things I’ve eaten have made me feel terrible. And no, nothing ever tasted so amazing on the way down that it made up for how I oftentimes felt afterward.
I just found out last week that I have a nice little stomach bacteria called H.pylori, which medically really isn’t a big deal, but pretty much just sucks when you’re as into food as I am. It also sucks if you’ve been taken out by this nice little stomach bacteria before, which happened to be the last time you went to Spain, and you spent the final four days of your trip lying in a sweaty ball entangled in the bedsheets of your Madrid hotel room while the antibiotics you’d been taking for the past ten days made you throw almost everything you’d eaten back up, and you begged your non-Spanish-speaking traveling companion to go out and explore the city and not stay cooped up with sweaty, puky you and he tried to make the most of it even though all he could ask for in Spanish was another glass of wine and the check, and in spite of the fact that it was raining buckets outside. It also sucks if you’re scheduled to leave for Spain again in two weeks, and this time you’ve got reservations to elBulli.
I’ve been trying to cheer myself up by recognizing that at least H.pylori is pretty; this stain from a gastric biopsy is no Ross Bleckner*, but it’s still fascinating.
Having a solid diagnosis certainly makes me feel better, particularly after an eight-month-long upset stomach, countless tests and much bloodwork. Now I’m just hoping I can love food with 100% of myself, bacteria-free stomach and all. I mean, come on — we’ve got a trip to Barcelona to talk about!