Color My Palate

The colors I eat are mostly browns and tans … oatmeal with dark brown sugar, chicken with Italian spices, baked potatoes with the skin covered in olive oil and sea salt. The best form of brown, even from Martha Stewart and Sherwin Williams, is the warm brown of chocolate—hazelnut, milk, organic dark, and extra dark. I’m supposed to eat a palette of colors—green for iron, orange for eyesight, and I remember the carrots and beans in my mother’s homemade vegetable soup, colors of fall and winter and warmth and fullness. Like the leaves outside the front door, our red maple and the neighbor’s oak, the bright yellow of willows whose bark peeled and curled with character and familiarity.
It never occurred to me to eat by color until I met my mother-in-law, who cooked from difficult magazines like Gourmet, each meal an experiment in organic chemistry, portions measured perfectly, colors like a palette to soothe the palate. Imagine, me, an artist, ignorant of a food palette! Oh yes, I’ve made up for lost time, but when things get tough, I always fall back on basic essentials and routine. Chocolate, smooth and full, resting on my tongue like an ocean of flavor, while I float away on the restful tide.

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