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Cheryl Hughes: My Career As A Woman

Food and Feelings - Last night, before I sat down to read, I fixed myself a cup of GoGoGoji tea.  My daughter, Nikki, bought a set of hand-painted oriental tea cups, complete with steepers and saucers, for me for my birthday.  She bought some Earl Grey tea and the afore-mentioned GoGoGoji tea as well.  In my card she wrote that the teas were two of her favorites.

As I drank my tea, I thought about Nikki as a child.  She was so picky about everything she ate and drank.  It was really difficult to get her to try new food.  I remember telling Nikki that if she wanted to be included in the social activities of her friends, she had better find at least one thing on the menu she could eat.  Evidently, she took the advice to heart, because the last time I was in Galveston, she chided me for not trying something new on the menu when we ate out.

Food is a very emotional subject.  It can be a hot button in new relationships, and it would be beneficial for both sides to work out some sort of compromise about things like ketchup and peanut butter before the relationship gets too serious.  It is possible to predict the future success or failure of a relationship by taking inventory of the couple’s individual pantries.  If one party buys Heinz and Jiff and the other buys Hunts and Peter Pan, the relationship is doomed from the get-go.  If you’re in one of those relationships, do yourself a favor and break it off now, because when it comes to Jiff and Peter Pan Never the twain shall meet.

Food brings out the particular in people.  Our friend, Caleb, used to eat dinner with us at least once a week before he got married.  He wasn’t hard to cook for, but the food presentation had to be right.  He didn’t like certain foods next to each other.  If I was out of paper plates with dividers, I would have to pull out my saucers and set them around the dinner plate.  I used to know all of his rules about food pairings, but the only one that stuck with me is Nothing touches the mac & cheese.

One of my favorite scenes from a movie is the one from When Harry Met Sally where Harry and Sally are ordering something to eat in a small café.  Harry tells the waitress he’ll have the number three.  Sally tells the waitress that she wants the apple pie alamode, but she wants strawberry instead of vanilla ice cream and she wants the pie heated.  If the restaurant doesn’t have strawberry ice cream, she continues, she’ll have whipped cream, but only if it’s real, if it’s out of a can, then nothing.  The waitress asks, “Not even the pie?” To which Sally says, “No, just the pie, but not heated.”  Harry tells her later that she’s high maintenance.  Sally rebuts, “I want it the way I want it.”

I want it the way I want it.  Yeah, that’s what I want too, and it happens very little in my life.  There are few things that I really have control over.  I think I look at food as my last toe-hold.  My philosophy has always been: Life is too long not to allow yourself Reeses Cups.  If food were about nourishment alone, I’d eat what the nutritionists suggest.  But for me, eating is only partly about nutrition and a lot about how food makes me feel.  I can tell you right now there is no comfort in a carrot.  No, if it’s satisfaction you’re looking for, it’s going to take brownies, red velvet cake or apple pie—and in some cases, all three.


Cheryl Hughes lives on a farm in Butler County where she is wife to Garey; mom to Natalie and Nikki; grandmother to Sabria; and caretaker to two dogs, three cats and two horses.  She holds a bachelors degree in music and enjoys playing guitar and freelance writing.


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