“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” An Irish Proverb
Call me a foodie – I’ve always had a healthy relationship with food. It’s simple really, I believe in eating and I don’t believe in dieting. I eat three meals plus snack every day. When people ask me how I stay thin I tell them I eat. I also happen to be a ball of energy and I feel the most alive when I’m moving. Growing up meal times were a time of connection for my family. Being from an Irish family, meal times were a time of gathering and sometimes a time for arguing but neither here nor there we sat at the table and ate meals together. This is something I try to instill in my children, to sit together so we can re-connect through food. We don’t bring our phones or iPads to the table we just sit and eat. Most of the time the boys gulp their food and move on to whatever it is they were doing before our meal, but even if we get ten minute connection time, it’s better than no connection at all.
This past month we adopted a gorgeous black shepherd named Kaos and after experimenting with different food brands, I decided to mix his kibbles in with fresh cooked dog food made with beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, brown rice and vegetables. I also make him dog cookies for extra treats for training and to add some variety to his diet. Kaos loves the food and literally does a happy dance when it’s time for his meals. Similar to the food connection at the dinner table, food has become a connection to Kaos. He knows when I’m cooking his dog food and lies at my feet during the preparation. He watches me pack his meals in glass jars and follows me to the freezer to freeze his servings. We were away for a few weeks camping and fishing this summer and I made sure I had enough homemade dog snacks to last through the trip. One morning we decided to go to a different fishing spot not far from where we were camping. Drew cooked a huge breakfast that morning, so I didn’t bother to pack food because the new fishing hole wasn’t that far away and we weren’t planning on being there all day. True to our family, we never do anything as planned, we went further than we thought and stayed longer than intended.
All I had was water and homemade dog biscuits. It was getting to dinner time and I was starving, I decided to sit back on the bank to catch pictures of Drew and the boys and watch them fish. My stomach started talking to me and I remembered I had the dog biscuits. The biscuits are made with whole wheat flour, water, oatmeal, flax a little salt and cheese. Nothing I haven’t eaten before and the cheese adds flavour to the bladness of the cookie. I took the cookie out of my pack and started to eat it. Kaos is usually pretty good about sitting a little away while I eat, but not this time. At that moment he was not paying attention to me and was standing way up the river with Brendan watching him fish. All of a sudden he was literally in my face and took the cookie from my hand as I was putting the cookie in my mouth. He laid down a few feet away from me giving me a perplexed look, he was not impressed I was eating his food. Kaos is a smart pooch and he knows the hand that feeds him, but it’s a dog’s life when it comes to food and connection. The connection is there for a fleeting moment, kind of like my children at the dinner table, we manage to talk or argue for a few moments and then their gone.
Food is just a small piece in the connection, the aroma and taste connects the boys to my energy as the atmosphere is charged with emotions and passions and then just as fast as the food goes down, the connection is gone until the next time. The amount of time we connect is not important, it’s the connection itself that is important. Whatever the boys have to give, no matter how small – I’ll take it.