Thursday, January 12, 2012

The things I want to put in your mouth

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.


Christina Auret said...

I tend to talk with my hands. If I can't make gestures, I just can't talk.

I also talk to myself. Looong involved conversations and debates.

What I didn't really realize was that a tended to do both of the above at the same time. In public.

Elise said...

White chocolate apricot balls sound both dirty and delicious. Might need the recipe as well...

Elizabeth Poole said...

I do the food thing too. I have to feed everyone that comes into my house. I also cook for an army, something I got from my mom. My poor husband has learned to embrace leftovers because cooking for two just seems impossible.

The other weird habit I picked up from my family is talking to inanimate objects. Like they were alive and could hear me. My husband does this as well, so our children are doomed. :D

Skye said...

Nope. Nuthin'. I'm nor - n-n-nor-norm- ... Crap. Okay, yeah, I talk to myself, cuss to myself, and I'm sure have other weird habits that are familial, but it's too hard to sort them out from the many other 'quirks' that make other people look at me as if I'm from another planet.

I'm normal on that planet, I'm sure.

Sage Ravenwood said...

I don't enjoy cooking...I just do it well. The oldest of 6 with a mother who didn't cook, didn't exactly leave me much choice.

Yet, whenever friends stop by I'm always the one cooking. Band rehearsals tend to end up in my house and turn into Spaghetti night. Nothing wrong with repaying the musical geniuses that entertain me. Kind of the only way for me to enjoy music, put a band in my living room and waves of vibrations bounce off the walls. Is gravitating toward musicians a quirk?

The only other quirk might be searching out the pets in peoples homes. Love animals, what can I say. (Hugs)Indigo

Laina said...

I spend a fair amount of time at home alone because I live with someone who works a lot, so I talk to myself, a lot. I don't notice it until I do it in public...

Jess Corra said...

I have Feeding People Disorder too. I also call it "Job Security," because I live alone I take everything in to work! :D