i’ve been meaning to touch upon this theme for a long time, and actually misremembered doing so as part of a follow up to my claim to eventually give Benjamin’s piece on figs some serious attention. i could have sworn i wrote a whole thing out, but there’s not even anything in my drafts, so perhaps i made it all up?
hell, i even have a (perhaps false?) memory of writing it and as i descended further into my usual spiral of nigh-unreadable gibbering abstraction, thinking to myself “this is just starting to sound more and more like i have an eating disorder” and sort of thinking twice about posting. perhaps i not only thought twice, but also destroyed the evidence? or maybe i -did- write it and even posted it, but just can’t now seem to find it, despite everything being laid out in clear, chronological order?
so if you see something that sounds like that, let me know.
because i’m not doing it now. what i am doing now is a sort of a conceptual verlan of one of the key terms in the lazy wordplay that is the blog’s title:
while it is obvious how sickness from excessive eating relates to Food As Destroyer, what concerns me now is what one eats when one is sick, and what i have realized is in my case the delicate and fraught relationship between Comfort Food and Thanatotic (see As Destroyer) Food.
we all have comfort food, perhaps different comfort foods for emotional and physical illness, respectively. this may be distinct or may overlap with the food we eat when we are sick, in order to (hopefully) become less sick.
for example, when i am sick, and want to get better but still eat something delicious, i usually turn to brown rice and steamed kale, probably with a very ginger/garlic/nutritional-yeast-heavy miso-tahineh sauce. easy to digest, you got greens in there, got other aggressively healthy shit in there, but it’s still salty as hell, therefore good. this is not, however, a comfort food, even though i enjoy it thoroughly.
when it is specifically a comfort food i’m looking for, while sick, usually i make a can of tomato soup with shit ton of oregano and garlic and cayenne and olive oil, AND (and this is where the real comfort comes in, and also the beginning of the death drive, oddly) several heavily-margarined slices of toast. because you can’t eat tomato soup without toast, right? duh. this would be all well and good, but that inevitably i end up continuously making toast over the course of my consumption of the soup, resulting usually in me eating, oh, 7 to 10 pieces of toast, and probably a cup of margarine in total, and being so hideously gorged that my body has to divert all its energies into digesting the oily glue-heap in my stomach instead of repairing and repelling whatever illness i should be battling.
somewhere in the process of this meal (say, 4 toasts in?), i become faintly conscious that i am eating to destroy – not the food, but myself.
where this becomes patently obvious is my tendency to eat chips and chocolate bars when i’m sick, in full cognisance of the fact that not only is it doing me no good, but that i am doing it in part to Do Me No Good, to, rather, Do Me Ill.
see, i used to be sick a lot, and this really fostered an antagonistic Cartesian split in my life. basically goes like this: i get sick, and then am all like “WTF, BODY? i treat you well with whole grains and some other healthy nonsense and this is how you go and do me? well how do you like this?” (as i stuff a fistful of chips into my mouth) “and this!” (the next fistful of chips), and so on, until i have eaten an entire bag of chips, and for a moment feel a perverse sort of victory that is part sheer delight at having tasted delicious chips for such an extended period of time, part the guilty pleasure that comes whenever one eats an entire bag of chips (i think this is similar to the absurd celebratory-shameful tone that one adopts when recounting/realizing out loud that one spent over 100 dollars on booze in the past 24 hours), and part mad Flagellant monk triumph over the body that says “Hey body, what’s up? bet you feel like shit, eh? well, how you like me now?! remember, i made you (untrue, admittedly) and i can unmake you, never forget that.” as if you’re teaching your stupid body some sort of -lesson- for being self preserving enough to get sick? it’s really insane, but that’s basically how it goes.
what makes it all the more perverse (or all the less? i can’t even tell anymore) is that there’s a sort of liberating jouissance to the process of chip-eating in such instances. i feel like i rarely more fully experience the potato chip than under these circumstances – the salt just seems more alive on the tongue, and when one reaches (sooner than usually) the level of depravity of scarfing whole mouthfuls (mouthsful?) of chips at a time, there is a certain satisfaction their jagged edges jabbing into and scraping the roof of the mouth, gums, tongue, inside lips, and it becomes a trial to even crunch through the haphazard formation, but a trial all the more worth undergoing for the reward of reducing it all to a pulpy, starchy, salty mass in the back of the mouth. at which point there is a moment of calm – the fire in the brain settles, serenely, like the storm of chips now reduced to a placid, masticated sea of potato purée.
it’s something about taking part in the transmutation of a chaos of angularity and imbrication into a sort of ordered formlessness – a collapsing of states – guess deceptively like a real physical transformation of solid into (pseudo) liquid.
coming soon: more reviews?