24 September 2008

Ode to Coffee

There's a thread at Mothering.com about coffee. You wouldn't know it now, but I used to love coffee. Then something happened.

I started drinking coffee in one form or another when I was 6 years old (and at 5' 10", it didn't stunt my growth, which is one the things it allegedly does). At various times in my life I've enjoyed up to 6 cups a day. Towards the end of the day I'd switch to decaf. I'm not terribly sensitive to caffeine, but I respect my limits. To say I loved my java was an understatement. My middle name is Jo, by the way.

I used to work in a cafe before cafes were ubiquitous. I learned how to make perfect cappucinos, Turkish coffee, I learned how to roast even. In college, every major paper I wrote for my Biology classes had something to do with coffee. If you pricked my finger, I'd bleed coffee.

One of my best memories of being an exchange student in Japan when I was 15 is drinking coffee with the local government representatives. None of the other gaijin would touch it. I had about 3 small cups of coffee. I felt cool!

When I was pregnant with Ingrid, something changed overnight. My body rebelled. I had my small pregnant lady size cup of joe, and ten minutes later I'd have horrible stomach cramps. I switched to decaf. Same thing happened. I started using soy milk instead of cream. No change. I started drinking it black with a little sugar. No change. I tried just black. No change. I felt like I was dumped by a lover because I got pregnant. It broke my heart to give up coffee, although my gut thanked me.

Then the smell of fresh coffee started to make me sick, as did the smell of chocolate and strawberries. After Ingrid was born, I could eat chocolate again, until Ingrid developed a milk allergy, and strawberries were back on the olfactory menu. But not coffee. Ingrid is 3 1/2 and I still get a little sick when Chris makes a pot. And he usually buys the good fair trade organic stuff, no flavoring. I still go to cafes, but I sit away from the counter. I still like the smell of fresh ground, just not brewed.

I miss coffee.


Anonymous said...

my name is parthenia

Parthenia said...

Hello, Parthenia!
Alas, Parthenia is my internet identity. Outside of computer world, I am known by an entirely different name.
I picked the name from the book and documentary "A Midwife's Tale", about the diaries of an 18th century midwife in Maine, Martha Ballard. Parthenia was the name of her niece.

It's a beautiful name.