“Food and I”

Anna Lesiczka
20th October  2022

I called my mom to ask how much money she earns per hour. This interest came to me because I bought medicine that cost almost all the money I earn per hour.

We started talking about her job. She told me that her old clients are lately coming back because it’s already autumn. Somebody is having an affair, another one is having suicidal thoughts. Yes, and I’ve been feeling claustrophobic also. She asked if it is because of the dark. Maybe - I said (because it’s darker than anywhere I know) - but I don’t have any friends here. She said what she says over and over, that I am the one who creates this loneliness by constantly moving away. She claims to hear this throughout my whole life. I mentioned it as a prologue to talk about food. Precisely about warm food that comes out of an oven (with cheese).

I was having the same monologue in my mind some evening ago when I was walking alone in the dark. I said it out loud during the call with my mom and now I am going to write it down.

I told her I missed the place where I can feel comfortable eating toast. And I said about my two happiest moments in the Netherlands. They both concern toasts and people but none of the people are my best friends (which is sad, but I can’t help that they are not into this kind of food). People who appeared in my happiest memories were in my life temporarily, but it happened that they were in my house when I needed to eat toast with someone (I am a bit ashamed of how much power food has over me).

When I moved away from my family for the first time and I was on my way back to visit, I called my mom asking her to make the toast ready to eat when I enter the house. I could color this memory and romanticize that only toasts would make me feel at home but it’s not true. Now I am thinking that it was definitely the first thing that came to my mind, that someone can fast prepare and I can fast eat. I wanted to quickly go out and see friends (I clearly remember it was why I called and asked for food).

Pizza - I always answer the question about my favorite dish. People are surprised. Maybe I am also surprised. I don’t like the taste as much as I like the sensation. For me, it’s difficult to call “my favorite” something that just tastes nice but I don’t have any long-term relationship with it. I could eat something fancy and extremely delicious, later even call it the best thing I have ever tasted, but it would still be just a one-night stand next to my everlasting feeling for pizza.

In my hometown, there is a pizzeria on every corner. Around a dozen years ago when I was a child growing up there, we didn’t have any other place to “go out”. So all my “going outs” were always called “going for a pizza”. My pleasant memories concerning primary and middle school gather around the dish.

So now I am an adult who hasn’t lived in the pizza kingdom for almost 10 years. Later on, in different places, it wasn’t fun to eat pizza. There have been so many new possible tastes to discover. And when I don’t “go for pizza” anymore, I love it more.

When I look for comfort I eat readymade frozen pizza or toast. I leave it in the oven when it’s cold and it comes out hot. The cheese is melted and it’s the best. I never feel happy when I cook myself something else. Still, I cook healthier things regularly because I would get very fat otherwise.

Cooking gives me cold feelings. It makes me feel miserable and always gives me trouble. I don’t like to eat the food I made alone but it’s even worse to eat it with others. I am convinced that I can’t cook so every time the food I made appears to be good, I am surprised.

But I still care about food. I don’t allow myself to feel hungry so usually, in the evenings, I am worried about what I am gonna eat the following day. If I don’t have enough food, I can’t be efficient and my work would be bad. I spend a lot of time thinking about it. Lately, I started cooking in the morning, after breakfast. I carry warm food in the subway with me and I am safe.

In new places, I forget what people eat. I go to supermarkets and spend a lot of time left with bananas and tomatoes only. I have to learn everything - how to find myself around products in the shop and later in the kitchen. When I moved in here I promised myself to not eat frozen pizzas again. So I started to eat a lot of toast instead. It never felt good, accompanied by fear. Melted cheese stopped giving me the needed support. 

I was lucky enough to meet an old friend at the beginning of my third week here. We were best friends in high school but a few years ago we almost stopped talking. But now he is in a relationship with a person from here so he came to visit. Talking about my first impressions, I said that the best thing in Sweden is Princess Cake. When we met his boyfriend, he shared my opinion with him. I remember the boyfriend said that it was either a very good review of the cake or a very bad review of the country.

A few weeks passed. I like the country but Princess Cake is still my favorite thing. I ate it only once (the second day after I arrived). Honestly, I can’t say that the taste was any special. It was okay because I like all the cakes with cream.

On my birthday this year, I had only one wish - I wanted to have a green birthday cake. I had a nice time the day before and the day after, but I spent the birthday at home alone. It was raining so I left only to the confectionery where months ago I spotted the green pistachio cake with sugar mushrooms on top. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it anymore. No green cakes in the two other places on that street. I returned home with a pink cake with a sugar flamingo and a huge birthday disappointment. 

I was wondering why I fell for Princess Cake. Whenever I see it in the shop window or the shop fridge, I stop and stare for at least a few seconds. The cake is green, so I figured out that the unfulfilled birthday desire may be a reason. But it had to be hidden deep because it came back after a few weeks since my first statement of love for Princess Cake.  

Despite the dark, cold, and nobody to eat with, at least I don’t have to worry that I would have trouble finding a green cake for my next birthday.