Finally, we've got cool, crisp weather here in Memphis after so many months of steamy hot days. When I got hungry for lunch, the first thing I thought of was grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, which they served in the Tri Delt house at Ole Miss when I was there in 1969-70. I'm thinking it was every Thursday, but I don't remember for sure. Maybe even Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was my favorite food at the house, and I remember being amazed at HOW MANY grilled cheese sandwiches those SKINNY girls could eat!
So today I fixed myself a memory and enjoyed it with the windows open so I could breathe in the early fall air. (Yes, I know, the heat will probably come back, but hey, a girl can dream.)
When I posted this on Facebook, an old friend (Mike Mayberry from high school days in Jackson, Mississippi) said:
"Funny how certain weather conditions move us to certain foods! Think there's an essay there?"
I replied that the only "food essay" I had ever written was about eating disorders, and then my friend, David Lyons, hit the "like" button and then said, "because I'm somewhat twisted."
The whole conversation got me stirred up... I'm reading Caroline Knapp's memoir, Appetites: Why Women Want, and it's not just about food. It's about why women often suppress their desires and then get caught in traps with substitutes:
"Obsessive relationships with men; compulsive shopping and debt; life-defining preoccupation with appearances; 'isms' of all kinds--all of those are about emptiness, about misdirected attempts to fill internal voids, and all of them tend to spring from the same dark pool of feeling: a suspicion among many women that hungers themselves are somehow invalid or wrong....Eat too much, want too much, act too sexual, or too ambitious or too hungry, and the invoice will arrive, often delivered with an angry hiss of self-recrimination: You're a pig, a sloth, you suck."
(Knapp was a recovering anorexic and alcoholic. Her memoir, Drinking: A Love Story, is powerful. Knapp died in 2002, of cancer.)
Maybe I'll get that essay out and dust it off and send it back out for publication. It was only rejected twice, I think. I didn't cast a very wide net. It's not really for a very wide audience.
But my friend, David Lyons would like it.