The times that I actually wanted to eat something, I found that I wanted things remembered from my childhood. Clearly Canadian. Shortbread. Fruit Roll-ups.
I was curled up in our white and grey striped chair trying to get excited about eating, when I had a memory...
I was six years old, dancing around the kitchen impatiently, as Mom trimmed off the bottom of the artichoke stem and cut off some outer leaves. She handed me our orange, plastic mixing bowl, and I filled it halfway with water. Mom put the artichoke in upside down, and the bowl went into the microwave. I stood in front, looking through the glass door and counting down the numbers with the timer.
We weren't a kitchen table kind of family. There were silver and green tv trays that we used most nights, but if we were sharing something, we would sit on the floor and use the coffee table. It was wood with a glass top, and just big enough for all three of us to sit around.
Two glass bowls, one with melted butter for my Dad and one with mayonnaise for my mom, sat on the table. The artichoke was in the center where everyone could reach it.
It was a little strange to be encouraged to eat leaves, but I quickly got the hang of it. Pulling off a leaf, dipping it in mayonnaise or butter, and then scraping the soft part off with my teeth.
One leaf at a time, we ate the artichoke, savoring each bite.
When all the leaves were gone, Dad scraped off the fuzzy stuff and divided the heart. I watched closely, because Mom had told me the heart was the best part, and I wanted to make sure that all three pieces were the same size.
Sitting in my striped chair, pregnant and suddenly hungry, I knew this was what I wanted.
I couldn't remember how much water to use, or how long to cook it, and I didn't have that orange mixing bowl, but I was determined to have an artichoke for dinner.
That night, Thomas said he would take care of it. He got an artichoke on his way home from work. He trimmed and cleaned it, and put it in a pot full of water on the stove. I was insistent that Mom had used the mixing bowl so the artichoke wouldn't roll around while cooking, so he stood there with tongs, holding the artichoke still while the water boiled around it, steam hitting him in the face.
When the artichoke was ready, I peeled off the first leaf, dipping it in mayonnaise, and scraping off the soft part with my teeth. It was everything I remembered. Warm. Slightly sweet. Fun to eat.
I shared it with Thomas, but I definitely ended up eating more than my half of that artichoke. Savoring each bite.