Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for November 4th, 2010

The Dinner Decision

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 4, 2010

     Leora and Abe, both in their sixties, married for ten years, never know what to make for dinner. Both are fifty pounds overweight, yet both insist that they “hardly eat anything”. Each night, when they both come home from work, they stare at each other, in what sounds like an agonizing way, and after a few tense words they both grudgingly “put something together.” Leora would be happy with a bologna sandwich, but she knows that Abe would be grumpy if she did that. Abe wants a nice meal, but he says he is “too tired to think about it.” I wondered aloud, “what about making a book every week which says what you are having for dinner on each night? Then, you can make a shopping list accordingly.” Abe looks at me like I have made an absurd suggestion and he says “well, we have recipe books.” “No, I mean something more specific-a book which says Tuesday, November 2, 2010, lemon chicken, brocoli and roasted potatoes,” I say, knowing that this is not a brilliant idea, but I am curious to see how Leora and Abe will respond to the directive. To my surprise, Abe says “but I don’t want to do that, I want Leora to know what will make me happy.” I pause, pondering Abe’s remarkable comment. Then, I say to Abe “you and Leora are very different people and as such you have very different ideas about food and it is hard to come to terms with the idea that Leora does not mirror you in this way.” Abe looks at me with pain in his eyes. “I have a hard time accepting that,” he says, as if he has thought about this before. The dual meaning of food as both a physical and emotional nutrient stands out for me in this moment. Abe and Leora nurturing one another, like  with so many couples, is a deep and continual challenge.

Posted in Eating, Musings | 4 Comments »

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