There's a mental disorder that runs in my family.
It's a chronic, urgent, desperate need to feed people.
Admittedly, most mental health professionals don't recognize this as a disorder. I've never read about it in a medical journal or seen a parade organized to benefit victims of this syndrome. In all honesty, it's not terribly crippling.
I wasn't fully aware of it until I was working on edits for Getting Dumped, my new project with Coliloquy. My heroine, JJ, is constantly whipping up meals for her sister and the various men in her life.
I never thought much of it until my editor started raising questions: Why is she always feeding people? Why does she cook when no one else in her family does? Why doesn't she do it for a living? Can I have the recipe for those White Chocolate Apricot Balls?
I was a little taken aback, and not just because I'd lost that recipe. I hadn't actually noticed JJ's habit because...well, it just seemed normal to me.
Not that I'm the best judge of normal.
The timing of these edits coincided with the early months of dating my new gentleman friend. As is my habit whether I'm feeding myself or ten others, I threw together elaborate dinners every night.
At first, he seemed nervous. He didn't want me to go to so much trouble on his account, and though he loved the meals, he fretted about the time and money I was spending.
"Trust me," I assured him. "This is just what I do. If I'm not feeding you, I'll be feeding the housemates, packaging Tupperware meals for my girlfriends, or summoning the dog to eat maple orange chicken dusted with rosemary."
I'm not sure he totally believed me until he met my mom. Then my cousin. Then my grandmother.
And I'm pretty sure every one of us offered him food.
I blame it on genetics, though that's not the excuse I gave JJ in Getting Dumped. In her case, it's almost the opposite. She grew up in a family of people who didn't cook, but she happened to love food. Determined to be self-sufficient – and convinced she damn well deserved gourmet meals any time she wanted them – she became a ruthlessly proficient cook.
Because she loves cooking, she never wants to do it for a living. On that note, I can relate.
Do you have any quirky habits you weren't aware of until someone else pointed them out to you? Please share!
And let me know if you'll be stopping by tonight for lasagna. Say, 7ish? Bring wine. Lots of it.