Leaning into loving food

“Honestly, I just decided to love food.”

As I read these simple words in “For the Love,” by Jen Hatmaker, I quickly realized a powerful thing: I not only don’t love food, I actually completely resent food.

Relationships are hard enough without throwing resentment into the mix, so as I settled into this idea about why I resent food, I came down to this – it’s confusing and doesn’t love me back.

Holy hell, women, I have a freaking masters degree. When in the world did I get confused by a potato?

If I recall correctly, small child Kate loved potatoes, particularly those of the mashed variety made with her mama’s whole heart, but no potatoes were left behind on the favorite train.

Then I moved out on my own and realized I had no skills for cooking, so I turned to the least friendly of all potatoes, the French fry – sneaky little “vegetable” bastard.

Seeing this relationship in a new light, I then joined WeightWatchers, where I was informed that all vegetables are good – FREE EVEN! – with one exception … the potato. The potato would cost me 3 Points, so I better really love that potato because I could have saved those Points for half a bagel. Don’t make me choose between carbs, folks.

Fast forward light years to lifestyle change #482, where 60% of the Whole30 message forum is about one item … THE POTATO.

God bless the farmer trying to sell his hearty potato in this environment, it is a shit show.

Then I settled in some more, because I know the true lesson is always buried deeper than any potato.

And here it is: I just want to let go, you guys.

I want to fuel this body in a way that gives me energy to love myself and care for my people without overthinking every choice. I want to enjoy a dinner where I’m not trying to keep bite-for-bite pace with the person across from me. I want to sit down at a meal with those I adore and focus on their words, not whether someone happened to notice me take a second helping. I want to make a meal for others filled with heart and good intention, not questioning if I have earned the right to eat it with them.

I want to let go of the judgment and love food, because I know that when we give love, we get love.

But at this point in the crazy, I worry that I don’t know how.

I worry that I will suck at cooking.

I worry that I will fail to nourish my people.

I worry that I will not be enough – that I am not enough.

And I resent the fact that this relationship gives me leverage to judge myself all day every day.

I resent the fact that I have created too many rules, that the expectations are too high.

I resent the fact that what is meant to fuel me causes me so much heartache.

I resent the fact that I am supposed to be responsible and loving at the same time.

So ... maybe it’s not about the potato.

Maybe the real question is how do we push ourselves past the hardened heart of resentment to show up for love when it’s confusing and we fear no love in return?

I’m going to speak some hard truth to you now, lady – that potato will never love you back.

That doesn’t mean you should stop loving it. That doesn’t mean you should stop trying new ways, new recipes, new opportunities to let it fill you up.

Maybe food isn’t the enemy, but instead the vehicle for learning. 

Imagine if food became your practice for intentionally loving something with no expectations. Can you imagine what that would do the rest of your world? Only good things can come from teaching yourself how to love unconditionally, no matter what the outcome.

What if I fail at cooking? Ask the Farmer about any time I’ve tried to follow a recipe. The results range from pretty awful to completely inedible, so why I continue to hold onto this fear I have no clue. I have already failed, and good news – we are all still alive and more than nourished.

Now ask the Farmer what happens when I don’t follow someone else’s recipe. I promise, he would tell you this is my best work. As it turns out, we already know in our hearts what’s amazing, we simply have to be willing to show up with good intentions.

So, I dare you, friend – lean into your food this week. Taste it. Try new things. And when you feel the filters of judgment coming your way, pause and walk away from that table.

There is nothing more filling than loving you.

kate j