November 15, 2021:

I was almost always hungry, although for nearly twenty years I didn't realize that's what it was.

Meals were too painful. Mediocre food served by a doting, insecure, self-loathing parent damaged by her own experiences of abuse. I ate enough to continue living and got away as quickly as I could.

I frequently slept poorly, from hunger. I'd quietly slip into the kitchen at 2am to fix myself cereal or a glass of Ovaltine.

I didn't learn food until college. I remember being so embarrassed my first week when my new friends drove a group of us to a Chinese restaurant and I had no idea what the dishes were. I ordered white rice and ate it with butter.

But that was the beginning. I slowly learned Mexican cuisine, where my first ever true feeling of satiety came after tacos and fries from a fast-food chain I'd walk to at odd times between classes.

Today food is life's great joy. I'll still eat childhood dishes — I love spaghetti. But now it comes with salad, wine, garlic bread, cheese, olives, pie. All additions which arrived in my life only after escaping home.