Table for One
by Gayle Roper
I have never been a foodie in the sense that I love to prepare wonderful food. I admit I love to eat wonderful food, but my cooking was done for two reasons.
- I wanted my family to eat well. I made sure everyone had their veggies. I rarely fried anything. I worked to see things were flavorful and healthful.
- Dinner was our family time together. A harmonious meal aids digestion, so my husband and I purposed that we would not discipline at the dinner table. We would talk with and listen to our boys, mostly listen.
Then the kids grew up and moved out. They got married and started their own families. Dinner became just Chuck and me. I still tried for balanced meals, but I became aware of a growing feeling that we could talk over a restaurant meal as well as over a home cooked one. I became a fan of eating out, taking care what I chose and often sharing one menu item with my husband.
Then Chuck died and suddenly it was only me at the dinner table. What does someone who doesn’t love to cook do in a situation like this? What do you do when you don’t want to eat the same thing four nights in a row? What do you do when produce goes bad before you can use it?
Some friends cook pots of soup or chili and freeze them in individual serving containers for future use. Some friends George Foreman a lone hamburger. One friend cooks elaborate meals for herself, posting lovely pictures of mouthwatering food on Facebook.
Such friends are wonderful and creative, and I admire them; but that’s not me. Remember I don’t really like to cook.
I have solved the issue for me by frequently eating out. I go mid-afternoon and take a good book to read. When Chuck was working, I often took myself to lunch with a good book just to get out of the house. I didn’t want to be one of the ladies who lunch. I needed to get right back to work. I just wanted to be somewhere other than my office for a while. As a result, eating out alone isn’t scary (except for Friday and Saturday evenings—too date night-y).
Choosing to eat out midday solves the problem of lunch and dinner. As a side benefit, I eat my heavier meal early in the day and something light—cheese and crackers with a piece of fruit, peanut butter and crackers with an apple—in the early evening. I also exercise (which I really don’t like either), reminding myself that motion is lotion for the stiff joints.
I know my pattern won’t work for everyone, but the one thing I’ve learned as a widow is that there is no one way to be single again. There are common emotions, common milestones, but the pattern we find to live our new lives will be unique to each of us, just as our marriages were unique.
We must eat, and we must eat healthfully, because obviously the Lord isn’t finished with those of us remaining. My prayer for all of us is that we find the food pattern that works for us, one that keeps us healthy and available for His service as long as the Lord wants to use us.
Gayle Roper is an award-winning novelist (An Unexpected Match, Lost and Found) whose upcoming non-fiction book, A Widow’s Journey, shares the emotional truths of being a widow. Based on her blog of the same name.