... "Five 'Safe' Recipes"...
I have a kitchen cupboard jam-packed with recipe books and 4 more drawers packed with 'Good Food' and 'Delicious' magazines with 2 drawers reserved for the Christmas and New Year issues from the past 10 years. This year we've been doing what we'd usually do i.e. plough through all of the festive recipes, shortlisting the most yummy for our own build-up to the Big Day. On Sunday morning, for instance, Ben surprised me with a "De da!!!!" moment as he revealed the chocolate log cake he'd made the day before. That afternoon he made mince pies and various sweet and savory Christmas biscuits. I'll be making a third stuffing for our turkey - with a Spanish twist: chorizo. But it wasn't like that in the build-up to Christmas 2009...
Back then, working out weekly menus was a nightmare, let alone working out what we would eat over the festive season.
I'd flick through all my recipes, discounting the vast majority because I knew that (a) Ben would refuse to eat them and (b) he'd throw a wobbly at the very prospect of them appearing on the weekly menu.
Anything with cheese was out. Fats, of course, were eliminated and anything that needed to be fried. Curiously nuts and potatoes were OK, but I couldn't mix potatoes with, say, bread because that would mean 'too many' carbs. I remember a veggie burger and oven-baked potato wedges I served up which ended up being slammed down on the table in a furious ED rage because of the mix of potatoes, bread and breadcrumbs in the burger on one plate.
Puddings and cakes were out - unless they were fat-free. And umpteen other things that, thankfully, have slipped my mind two years on.
Virtually all festive foods were 'out', except lean turkey meat and why the heck did we need to use oil to roast the potatoes when Ben reckoned it could be done 'more healthily' without?
He would police the kitchen to check there was no 'contraband' in the fridge, freezer or larder.
Everything had to be zero fat and if an 'extra lite' version existed of anything, we had to buy that. Our local supermarket's 'extra lite' mayonnaise was particularly bland...
He'd throw an ED fit if he caught me frying anything on the stove. Even frying an onion in a tablespoon of oil was a criminal offence. Why fry when you can dry fry?
The slightest globules of oil would be described as 'swimming in fat' and violent refusals to eat the evening meal.
Or he'd stress out all day at the prospect of a 'fear food' being slipped into our dinner. I remember a serious problem with my plans for smoked mackeral burgers. Had I seen how much fat was in mackeral?!!!
I'd try to remove nutritional labels from food packaging. But by then Ben knew calories off by heart. And, anyway, removed labels set the alarm bells ringing in his head. I wouldn't have removed the labels if they were 'OK', would I?
I tried to black out the nutritional content of recipes, but that also set off the alarm bells - and, of course, he knew the calories by heart anyway.
And in a house as small as ours it's virtually impossible to lock him out of the kitchen.
Before the eating disorder and afterwards, cooking was one of my big passions. Especially cooking in the run-up to Christmas. At the height of the eating disorder I came to hate and even fear cooking, choosing a handful of five or so 'safe' bland recipes in an attempt to keep the peace.
Last year in 2010 it was better.
This year it's virtually back to normal.
Bring on Ben's delicious chocolate log cake!!!!