Have you ever thought about bread? I mean really thought about it? Before my pregnancy, I rarely ate bread. Occasionally we would have some at a restaurant, or at someone’s house, but generally speaking we did not have bread in the house. I have always (and still do) feel like bread is a filler food. I am one that believes that we should always fill our bodies with food that is fuel. Such as vegetables and fruit.
Until being pregnant. Now I cannot get enough bread. I have had a few cravings. Nothing too exciting. Chex-Mix, animal crackers, and for the entire pregnancy I have wanted bread. In the form of toast, sandwiches, and pizza. It is the only thing that ever sounds good. My OB said that my appetite would come back in the second trimester. It has not. Nothing ever sounds good. I never really am interested in eating. Except I know when I need to. When I start to get nausea (although I never had morning sickness) I know it is time for a snack or a meal. When that happens I only want bread.
It is comfort food. If you think about it, we have the option for bread in many different meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in different cultures (roti, naan, flatbread, to name a few). Now we even have gluten-free. You can have it plain, or toppings galore. I remember as a young child when I did not feel well, or when I wanted a treat, my grandma would make me toast with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. My dad loved peanut butter on his toast, my mom loved apple butter. At the moment, in the middle of this pregnancy, I want jelly. There have been times though when all I wanted on my toast was melted butter.
Now bread has become a phenomenon via the not so new culinary concept of “toast.” In San Francisco and New York you can find menu items such as buttered toast for $4. Yes. Maybe it is on high quality brioche, but still. I might sound like my grandma but I can almost get a loaf for that amount. In any case, bread, toast, what have you, it is my comfort food of choice as I ease into my third trimester.
I recently read a book that has made it to my top ten list for 2013. It is a memoir of food, life, and recipes. I find that I am often a magnet for good food writing. Which is funny because I cannot cook for the life of me. I am a baker, but do not expect me to whip up a dinner, unless you want to go with raw foods. So when I read “Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes” by Shauna Niequist, not only was I inspired by her outlook on life, I found pages and pages of recipes that looked easy, unpretentious, and like the yummy comfort food that makes you want to snuggle on the couch with your significant other and nibble away.
Niequist intersperses God and her faith a bit throughout the book, but not in an over the top way. She made me think, ponder, and appreciate life and food so much more. She uses the word “groundedness” in this quote and I love it. Don’t we often look for what is next? For something more? Just last weekend I was looking at a painting of mine and said to Chris I want to give that painting another life. It is time to paint over it and move on. I do not do that often, as I love most of the artwork I have done, but there has always been something about this set of paintings that I have wanted to change. I am grateful for the time it served in our home, but time for something more.
“I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that he sees what I can’t, that he’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning.” page 59
Does Niequist mean this about that next job we want, or that person we want in our life? Who knows. Maybe it is our next meal that we are craving because we have such an insatiable desire for food — its tastes, flavors, and our craving for it. That could be, as she talked often about her addiction to food. Whatever it means I feel she has encapsulated such a wonderful idea. To cultivate gratitude and groundedness. To know that what we have is enough, even as we stay open for something more.
We cannot be overly grateful, and yet, in order to grow and not stay complacent we need to yearn for more. Gratitude and groundedness seem like just the right balance.