Monday, August 9, 2010

Labour comfort food

When I think of some of the memorable times in my life so far, both good and bad, food and cooking have featured.

Thinking of what I might cook for my boy's birthday dinner last night, I suddenly remembered the food around us during my labour with him and decided to recreate that meal (minus the labour pains :-).

The day he was born started with making a big loaf of bread 'just in case'. I had a couple of pains here and there during the day and suspected it might be about to begin.

Then there were some lovely dolmades (I think based on this recipe) and garlicky yoghurt sauce to go with them hanging around in the fridge from my latest cooking fad. I had my mum around to help watch the kids and this allowed me the relaxing but time consuming task of rolling all of those lovely parcels by hand which we then happily devoured. As predicted I haven't made dolmades since then - the rush of late pregnancy energy that produced tree lopping in pregnancy no. 1 and chair recovering in pregnancy no. 2 had produced piles of homemade dolmades in pregnancy no. 3.

In the afternoon I gathered ingredients to make some comfort food for us for the evening - if I happened to need to go to the hospital then everyone would be fed and happy! I'd decided on a tomato risotto with eggplant croquettes (fancy name for my veggie version of meatballs). It's an easy soupy style risotto that's nicely contrasted with the crispy exteriored, soft interiored croquettes. Somehow the routine of frying the batches seemed to take my mind off the mounting contractions but soon I could no longer ignore them.

I admitted defeat in the kitchen and retreated to the bedroom, where the big girl came to check on me several times, finally excitedly declaring "I think the baby is coming, mamma just said ouch!". Hmm, I'm sure it was something stronger than ouch! In typical third time labour style I made sure the kids were fed and reasonably organised for bed before stating that I couldn't last any longer at home and left the risotto cooling, heading for the hospital with the soon-to-be dad-of-3.

At 8.09pm (on 09.08.09) our baby arrived, plunging through the warm water of the birth pool and pulled up to me with my own hands. My head still spins with what an amazing, quick, intense, beautiful, painful, fortunate, incredible journey this labour was. Holding a friend's newborn recently I felt a little sad that I would most likely never feel that again (I think I need sleep more than another newborn now).

When the new dad-of-3 left the hospital a couple of hours later to go back to the clan I put my love to bed for his first sleep in the outside world, then wondered to the birth centre's kitchen and devoured 8 pieces of toast with vegemite. Unfortunately my planning that afternoon hadn't extended to packing myself a container of risotto but boy, did that toast taste good!

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