The Path Of Anticipation

“We can never know about the days to come but we think about them anyway.”  ~  Carly Simon

~     ~     ~    ~    ~

For as long as I can remember, I’ve “looked forward to food” — good food.  By the time I was three, my penchant for the finer-tasting things in life had evolved into a habit.  Every time we’d go to Grandma’s house, I’d ask her for a cookie.  (No hugs and pleasantries first; my mind was set on the sheer joy of biting into whatever goodie-of-the-week had just emerged from her oven.)

My folks were chagrined; it was apparent that their middle child had missed the whole point of these Sunday afternoon outings — we were there to visit, not just to eat — and they did their best to redirect my enthusiasm.  They instructed, reminded, and cajoled.

When those tactics didn’t work, they appealed to my nobler sensibilities:  “It’s not polite to ask for food!”

I had an opportunity to consider this newly proffered wisdom on the next trip to Grandma’s.  Although the road was straight as an arrow, I’d come to a “fork” and it was time to choose a path.

Once our family-mobile (a pale green Chevy Impala the size of a barge) lurched to a stop in Grandma’s driveway, I scrambled out of the back seat, scurried up the steps, bolted through the front door (past Grandma) and skidded to a halt in the middle of her gray linoleum kitchen floor, eye-high with five dozen gingersnaps cooling on the counter.  After inhaling their spice-laden aroma with an audible sniffff…, I reverently declared: “Mmmmm, something smells good…”

After which, Grandma promptly offered me a cookie.

The Path Of Anticipation is rich in rewards. ~

There are pivotal points in everyone’s culinary journey and this was one of my earlier ones.  What a difference it made!  After that, instead of squelching my “food enthusiasm,” Mom and Dad just shook their heads at my ineffable spirit and smiled.  A foodie was born.  And nurtured.

Delectable tidbits may stimulate the appetite, but anticipation nurtures culinary pleasure.

Not be be confused with anxiousness or expectation, anticipation is an appealing combination of “recollection and hope”… it enhances an imminent experience based on cumulative experience.  (A déjà vu premonition, if you will.)  While it can be applied to a number of situations in life (the way I live life, actually), this post centers on food — good food — and no other word comes close to describing the before, during, and after effect that anticipation evokes.

Have I eaten this before?  Will it taste the way I remember it?  Is this a “first” for me?  Did I make it differently this time?  Will I make it again?  Does it remind me of a particular person, place or meal?  If so, was it a pleasant memory?  If not, how can I make peace with it to fully enjoy this moment?

In a nutshell:  “How did/does/will this food make me feel?”

I don’t mean “instant gratification,” though.  Anticipation takes patience — I call that anticipatience :) — and the thorough enjoyment of food, whether it’s a morsel or a meal, begins long before the first bite.

Food has the remarkable ability to engage all five senses.  It can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted — hooray!  It also provides multiple opportunities to interact, from shopping cart to prep to dinner plate.

Think of the deep red hue of a sun-ripened tomato… the “snap” of a fresh asparagus spear… the intoxicating fragrance of garlic and spices as they weave their way into a sauce… the slightly-yielding firmness of a fuzzy peach… the exhilarating explosion of flavors as a tantalizing fork-full hits your tastebuds…..

That’s anticipation.

So, how do you incorporate it into your culinary journey?  (Bear in mind, this is not medical advice… simply things that worked for me along the way.)

Start by cleaning your pantry — not the one in your kitchen, the one you’ve carried around from birth to now.  Consider your perceptions about food… are they yours?  Have you adopted attitudes (or even “family recipes”) that no longer suit you?  Life’s too short to eat other people’s food!  What do you want to eat?  Define your preferences.

Next, add anticipation to your grocery list — no more mindless trips through the aisles!  Be deliberate about your food selection — left or right?  Choose food that appeals to you, food that makes you look forward to eating.  Let your senses be your guide.

Then, when it’s time to prepare a meal, engage your senses once again.  Accept their open invitation to play!  Don’t just “make” food — participate.  Admire, sniff, nibble, listen, feel… have fun!

Allow me to interject a sixth sense here:  hunger.  Without it, food can’t be fully enjoyed, or anticipated.  (Which explains why I often eat dessert first…)  Hunger is a “gut” feeling.  Is my stomach full?  Empty?  Sort of?  Pay attention to its cues!  I don’t find food pleasurable when: A) I’m eating for the wrong reasons  — stress, fatigue, emotions, etc.;  or B) I’m not taking care of my body in the manner it deserves.

Of course this post wouldn’t be replete without some perspective from the trucking years… :)

For nearly a decade, I ate sporadically because of delivery schedules and warehouse hours, or a thousand miles between here and there, or finding a “closed” sign in a restaurant window at the only truck stop in sight.  While it’s possible to eat well on the run (and many folks do), I often put my hunger “on hold” or ignored it’s cues altogether — and I ended up throwing the whole thing out of whack.  My body was confused about when it wanted to eat, what it wanted to eat and why it wanted to eat.

Now, I take time to consider where hunger fits into my journey.  I nurture my body by welcoming true hunger and revel in satisfying it with a much-anticipated meal.  I also take time — make time — to enjoy it.  Good food is worth the effort.  Not to sound like L’Oréal, but I’m worth it… and so are you!

Finally, after every meal (or morsel), pause to savor this moment… because it nurtures the next one.

The path awaits.  Anticipate pleasure.

Enjoying the rewards,

~ Kim

Thank you for joining me on this first “Fork In The Road!”  Where are you on The Path Of Anticipation?

27 thoughts on “The Path Of Anticipation

  1. A woman after my own heart! What you describe here is the heart (and soul) of my work as a culinary nutritionist: “Eat Only What You Can Savor.” (Let your senses be your guide. Yes!) Your blog embodies that, Kim, and that’s why I was drawn to it. It felt like coming home.

    My culinary roots were cultivated in my grandmother’s kitchen, as well. While most of my friends were munching on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, I was enjoying crusty loaves of homemade Italian bread with sauteed spinach and garlic.

    Lemon cake, chocolate cookies, the candy dish—everything that came out of that kitchen represented love and nourishment.

    I am warmed by those memories and by this beautiful post. . .

    • I love your motto, Sue Ann — words to LIVE by! Thank you for your kind comments — they were SO descriptive I got distracted by the thought of chocolate cookies and the first part of my comment is actually posted below. Such is the power of food — GOOD FOOD! :)

  2. Thank you, Sue Ann, and welcome home! Please pass the bread… :) Our culinary pasts and present day dinner tables aren’t that far from each other, despite the miles. Sounds like your grandma — and mine — had it figured out … and left a “luscious legacy” to pass along. :)

  3. Well said. I think I’ve pretty much got everything down…except I listen to my taste buds more than my tummy….but I’m aware of it and I’m working on it!

  4. You’re doing WONDERFULLY, Ann — from the food you prepare, to your attitudes about life, etc. — it’s always a pleasure to read your posts and I’m inspired by your journey — and recipes! OH MY, I understand that tug of war between taste buds and tummy… it’s the foodie dilemma! (It tastes SO GOOD — just ONE more bite…) I think that’s where the other senses help out — when I look, smell, feel, even listen and then PLAN to enjoy “taste” later, I’ve enjoyed it four times already! The taste part is like dessert! :) Keep up the awareness, girlfriend!

  5. Thks so much for sharing those heartfelt words, Kim! I’m embarrassed cause I’m so spoilt in comparison. I’m a fussy eater. In simple words, I live to eat & not eat to live. Hubby also commented that if there’s a war, I’ll be the first to die. Lol!

    “Food has the remarkable ability to engage all five senses.” How true!

    • Shirley, there’s no need to be embarassed. Our lives are blessed in different ways, but we’re both content and enjoying them — that’s what’s important! I SO-O-O enjoy your friendship!
      ~ Kim

    • Shary, baking IS cooking, in oven form! It also takes a special knack with the timing, etc. — you’ve got more cooking ability than you realize! Glad you found inspiration here — thank you — enjoy your new kitchen adventures. :)
      ~ Kim

  6. Your philosophy is so much like my own! Growing up I had two grandmothers, one who had an entire freezer of frozen treats. Visiting her house always involved cartoons and ice cream, so much fun for a kid. My other grandmother made things like jell-o and boxed pudding. So somewhere between then and now I formed my own food philosophy of fresh, seasonal food. Kudos to you for nurturing and listening to your body. Yes, people are worth good food! What a great way to put it.

    • Hi, Tracey! Isn’t it amazing how many memories involve food? Maybe it’s the “love” we remember more — that’s the essential ingredient in everything we make today! Smiled at both of your grandmas’ arsenal of goodies. :)

  7. Kim, GREAT post. I love your descriptions of food (the snap of the asaparagus . . .) and you’ve given me a lot to think about. I agree about the power and beauty of anticipation, and how important it is to buy intentionally when grocery shopping (at least for me, if I neglect to do that, I end up wasting money and not using what I buy). You’re right–life is short–so we should eat what we want–what our bodies want (health-wise) and what our palate wants.

    • Jenna, thank you for your thoughtful comment — especially about using what you buy. My mind is usually three or four recipes ahead when I pick up a special ingredient (or one that I don’t buy often) — waste not, want not, right? I love the thought you put into your food and writing!

  8. Kimby, you speak such wonderful words about food. It makes me hungry just thinking about it. I find your story about going to grandma’s house amusing. I remember the strange smells coming from my relatives houses when we visited. It brought back memories I hadn’t had in decades. The anticipation you propose with food is something I think is truly lacking in our society. Everything is soooo instantaneous including our nutrition. I just finished reading “The Yoga of Eating” by Charles Eisenstein. I recommend you read it for an enhanced perspective on the cultivation of enjoying food the way you already do…

    A truly inspiring piece of writing. Thank you.

    Matthew

    • Matthew, thanks for your kind comments and also the book recommendation — what an intriguing title! (Will definitely look that one up.) I’m “anticipating” some good reading on your blog, too! :)
      ~ Kim

  9. This is truly beautiful. It seems like common sense to do all the things you have said but it seems we forget even the basics. I have told myself to slow down even with my favourites foods so that I will savour and appreciate it for what it is.

    I’m reluctant to call this advice because it should not be, it’s something that we should inculcate as part of our lives. Love your analogy about the “pantry”!

    • I’m glad you brought up common sense (another “sense” I should have included in my post!) — and also inculcation — the mind-body connection is often disrupted in our fast paced world. Thank you so much for your comments — I’m touched.

      P.S. The LAST thing I’d ever want to be is an advice columnist, lol! :)

  10. Hi Kimby,

    I’m a fellow food enthusiast and could totally relate to your words and descriptions. I felt like I was being nourished by the post! I love how you make your food and eating such a mindful practice. This is just as good as any meditation!

    Hugs,
    Marion

    • Marion, I never thought about it in a meditation context. That’s cool! It’s been illuminating to me to see how many dimensions “food” encompasses besides what I wrote about! Thank you for adding that perspective, and thanks for your lovely comments.
      ~ Kim

  11. Hi Kimby!

    This delicious post sings to my senses! I thoroughly enjoyed your lush descriptions of the joy of anticipation… the moment, extended infinitely between desire and fruition…

    I, like a fellow commenter, find that sometimes the desire itself is more delectable than that which we actually want.

    Revel in the wanting then, and savor the sips when they hit your lips.

    • Spoken like a true connoisseur of “the delicious life!” I like that term, Emelie (you mentioned it in your comment on my Incongruous Elements post) — that, and “revel in the wanting then…” What a way with words you have! Thanks again for your encouragement!
      ~ Kim

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