- Emily Katz
Heaven is a place where my palate sings
For over 2 years I have struggled with food allergies. I went to a Naturopath who had me eliminate nearly everything: sugar, wheat, dairy, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, alcohol, etc, etc…. After 2 months of that, I decided that I would not eat wheat or dairy since those were the things that seemed to bother me the most. I was grief stricken. All the men I dated were as well. Not because it made dining out more complicated, but because I was deeply heartbroken by the lack of sharp cheddar, salty briny sheep feta, chewy olive ciabatta, or my favorite seasonal pie, and it showed on my face. It showed in the way I approached a menu, at the grocery store I skulked past the dairy cases longingly. Sometimes riding bikes past the Franz bread bakery at night would even put my entire body into an olfactory nostalgic overload that I would have to pause, and breathe in the nauseatingly processed but somehow comforting scent of freshly baked bread.
But today everything changed. Hopefully. Despite this gastronomical torture I have put myself through for the sake of my health, I still haven’t felt any better. If anything I feel worse. Tired, my joints ache and throb, I am irritable sometimes for no reason. My cheeks break out in rashes that burn and sting. OUCH! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!
This afternoon, my family doctor did a few tests and tells me that I am not actually allergic to wheat or dairy at all, but I AM allergic to Nightshades. That’s a real bummer. BUT! Sweet cheese! Tangy creamy yogurt! PIE! I think I died and went to gastronomical heaven.
It really is when something is taken away from you that you can appreciate it all the more.
So I went directly to the store and stood in front of the cheese bar. The woman behind the counter was tasting something on a spoon. The look on her face was borderline orgasmic. Her eyes fluttered, the smile on her rosy cheeks spread open wide, her teeth glowing in a deeply satisfied smile.
“What are you trying?” I ask, hardly containing the excitement in my voice.
“It’s a raw triple cream brie from the South of France”, she replies, and hands me a heaping spoonful of it before I can protest.
I sheepishly reach for the heavily laden spoon and with ceremony put it into my mouth.
And tonight, after coming home and setting my things down, I made this perfect plate.