A few weeks back, I saw a cute off-Broadway show called Love, Loss, and What I Wore by the sisterly writing duo Nora and Delia Ephron. Based on a book of illustrations by Ilene Beckerman it recounts the memorable moments of the author's life in terms of the lovely and sometimes awful clothes that she happened to be wearing at the those points in time. She spoke of first days of school, first dates, first marriages, and even second marriages for that matter. Prominent times in her life remained vividly affixed in her memory thanks to the colorful frocks and fanciful pieces that she remembered having on as she lived each day in and out. The show itself featured 5 women speaking in monologue and conversation format. Ranging in age, race, and experience, the women's stories were abundant and pleasantly varied. I was consistently laughing so hard, I felt pain deep in my stomach. That's the best kind of laughter and it was such a fun evening out with my mom, nana, sister, and family friend Joy. There was even a great sense of camaraderie for everyone in the audience; it was deeply personal and very relatable for each and every woman in attendance. Feeling fat, feeling thin, feeling fashionable or fake, happy or sad, included or not in the midst of family members, friends, and even strangers. The commonalities run through every woman's life and I strongly recommend seeing the play for a good laugh and a nice reflection on times past.
If, however, I had to write my own play, mine would be called Love, Loss, and What I Ate!Thinking within the constraints of the play, I too have very fond and vivid memories of past experiences, and yes I remember exactly what I was wearing. That dreadful sweater or a sweet and soft party dress. But more so, I remember exactly what I ate...
On my sixteenth birthday, we shared an enormous Cannoli filled sheet cake. Top layer was chocolate cake, and bottom was vanilla joined in the center by fresh raspberry preserves and chocolate chip filled cannoli cream. Instead of sickeningly sweet icing, it was covered in freshly whipped cream that was light and fluffy just how I like, with a subtle hint of vanilla.
When I was just fifteen, I went to the UK for a study abroad program and my host mum Dawn made us a gluten free pizza, as her daughter Nicola was allergic. I was not too excited to eat something as odd as pizza less the gluten but it was divine. The dough was unbelievably tasty and it was loaded with the freshest of vegetables. Mushrooms, broccoli, corn, peppers...you name it and it was on that pizza. I am not sure I ever enjoyed pizza more, but maybe that can be attributed to the company with whom I ate.
After playing outside one evening during the great snowstorm of 1996, my sister and I ran inside frozen to pieces in search of something warm. Mom had already prepared tomato soup with white rice (how we liked it)and warmly grilled cheese. We had hot cocoa as well with some whipped cream. We licked the bowl spotless and settled by the fire for a safe night in, snow falling at the window.
My first date ( I mean a real legit date with an actual man and not some foolish boy), this handsome guy Mark took me for Middle Eastern food at this great nook called Neyla in Georgetown, Washington DC. I had hummus with warm pita bread, generously seasoned chicken, and crisp vegetables. We split dessert :)
So maybe you do not recall what you had for breakfast this morning, but what I mean to say is that alot of emotions we feel are dictated by what's on our plate. We build memories around the dinner table, in the corner booth at the city diner, sitting all snug at our favorite coffee shop, or at some bar we cannot remember the name of; but that cutie you were talking too... you remember him alright! Next time you are feeling particularly elated, stop and think about what you happen to be eating. You never know, it may shape your favorite tradition or comprise a story you tell your grand babies someday.