But for me the true sign that I am starting to get back, even slightly, to my old self is that I actually feel like cooking, and eating for that matter, something more complex than a can of tuna mixed with steamed broccoli. It has been even worse since E left town on a three week trip to South America. My days and nights that I used to spend perusing through cookbooks to relax after a long days work or dreaming up dishes at the market, have been transformed into wondering how I can make myself feel full on a carton of yoghurt, a can of artichokes and a rotten avocado that I bought from a gypsy on the street. I have eaten oodles of noodles, campbell's soup (cream of mushroom, good; tomato, much worse than I remembered), pre-prepared gazpacho and whatever other 'easy' thing I can order from the Corte Inglés supermarket that is literally in the basement of my apartment building, but that charges me eight Euros to deliver it upstairs - oh, to have two hands again! In any case, it is strange to suddenly have to discover ready-to-eat, processed foods that are appealing, healthy and require a minimum of effort, after shunning them for so long.
At least I haven't been feeling sorry for myself (despite what it may seem). If this were the case I would have given up and ordered 50 kilos of fresh pasta and Parmesan cheese to match. Oh, and potato chips, I do love potato chips.
For someone who loves to cook and equates the first chill of the year with a mad dash to go buy things like collard greens, legumes and wild mushrooms, it has been strange to not care about eating, but even stranger, to not care about cooking. So today, on the first day that I have physically felt a little bit like a me again, I also felt like cooking something good again, with my own TWO hands.
A celebratory (huge) tender chunk of solomillo, some asparagus (that accidentally broke in half when I dropped them) and a delicious glass of Malbec that my Argentinean friend Facundo asked me to try from his uncle's winery in Mendoza - fruity at first, and then velvety, smoky and spiced - perfect for a rainy autumn day like today.
Oh, there will be some things I'll miss: being able to turn the TV to the perfect angle with the end of my crutch or catching up on the last ten years of Law & Order; but to feel oneself again is a precious thing and to get my hands back into the kitchen...well, there's just nothing like it.