Ana Veciana-Suarez: Determination is satisfying in its own way

Posted Wednesday, May. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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If the Food Network is hunting for its No. 1 fan, I suggest executives stop at my house to interview The Hubby. He watches more of its programs than anything else on TV, including reruns of our mutual fave, NCIS, and the endless stream of fishing shows that teach which spoon lures to use in skinny, weedy water.

For entertainment, I can count on The Hubby to provide the latest gossip on a celebrity chef or to describe a particularly enticing recipe being cooked in the kind of designer kitchen I will never own.

“Come look at this!” he’ll shout across the house, in that urgent tone I reserve for fires and other mishaps.

On the screen, Guy Fieri, with his bleached-blond locks, is eating (fill in the blank) with characteristic gusto.

Guy — we’re on a first-name basis here — is the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, a favorite in my household.

The Hubby also faithfully reports on Paula Deen’s culinary evolution since she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and Giada De Laurentiis’ latest take on a traditional Italian dish. He suggests ingredients from Iron Chef, too. On occasion, he will defect to the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food.

Now here comes the rub: The Hubby, who has been recovering from septic shock after his esophagus ruptured in August, doesn’t eat. Yep, you read right. Except for ice chips, he doesn’t bite, nibble, gnaw, chew, chomp or munch food. Nothing. Nada. He gets, at least for now, all his nutrients via a food pump through a feeding tube in his stomach.

You would think that a man who cannot savor the taste of garlic or enjoy the tang of barbecue sauce would avoid food at all costs, right? You would think he’d bolt from the kitchen, pump and formula in tow, and hide as far as possible from the mouth-watering scent of a good meatloaf. I certainly would. Temptation would drive me crazy.

Not The Hubby. He revels in all things gastronomical — in protest, I dare say, in defiance.

He not only watches all those cooking shows, but he has begun collecting recipes from magazines and newspapers. Last weekend, he showed one of our daughters-in-law soup recipes that could tease even the most recalcitrant taste buds. Carrot, apple and ginger soup. Vegetable soup with basil pesto. Yellow squash and curry stew.

As if to make a point — take that, adversity! be gone, misfortune! — he also has resumed most of the cooking. Sometimes I’m greeted at the door by The Hubby, and the aroma of a fantastic feast wafting from the kitchen. You won’t hear me complain.

Yet I can’t figure out why a man who cannot eat has become so enamored of food . Then again, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? To waste a perfectly precious present?

Life, I’ve learned, is full of irony, chockablock with contradictions, and this is just one more (tasty) instance.

Ana Veciana-Suarez’s column appears Sunday.

Write to her at The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza,

Miami FL 33132, or send email to

McClatchy News Service

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