Divorced-Inspired Dinners: What To Cook When You Want To Eat Your Feelings

While going through a divorce, the one thing I could control was the food I was cooking.

photo of author provided by author Courtesy of the Author

“You’ll feel better in two years,” every divorced person I know tells me, which is a lot by the way.

Some follow up with dumb advice like, “Focus on self-care when you don’t have the kids,” or “Learn something new, like how to play the ukulele or maybe a foreign language. Do you know Chinese?” 

“Great idea,” I say, thinking to myself: What a dumb idea.  

Sure, these people are well-intentioned, but being in the infancy stage of a contentious divorce, I don’t have the bandwidth to learn anything new. I mean, retaining any previous knowledge is a feat in itself. 


RELATED: ‘My Husband Wants A Divorce Because I’m Pregnant’ — Woman Seeks Advice After ‘Miracle’ Pregnancy Ruins Her Marriage

Divorce is all brand new and overwhelming: Splitting parenting time, not being in my own home, accruing attorney fees, and letting go of a future I thought was guaranteed.

The anxiety brought on by these circumstances hijacks my brain, leaving little room for much else.

Over the course of the past five months, I threw my air pods away, missed my exit on the way to work, brushed my teeth with Cortisone cream, lost my car key, and still can’t remember where I packed my underwear.


So I’m sure you can understand why snuggling up on a sofa that’s not mine and watching a YouTube video on how to crochet, is not happening any time soon. 

Baby steps, they (also) say. Pre-divorce proceedings, I cooked. I love trying new recipes, inviting friends over, and reveling in the compliments my friends dish out as they stuff their faces.

Familiarity is comforting so I decided to use cooking to cope. I’ve done it before, so it wasn’t as far of a stretch as learning the ukulele. 

That said, those of you who have been through a divorce (according to statistics that should be at least 50% of you), know that appetite is one of the first things to go.


Most of us lose around 15 pounds on the divorce diet, which quite frankly, rivals Ozempic. But instead of injecting semaglutide into your body to suppress your appetite, you stay full on a steady diet of rage, stress, sadness, and fear. 

RELATED: The Harsh Reason Women Over 40 Leave Their Husbands

This emotional stress of divorce increases cortisol levels, which slams down the digestive system and causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. So it makes sense why nothing sounds good to eat and keeping food down can be impossible.

“Drink an Ensure once a day,” a therapist tells me. 

“Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea sound better,” I (sort of) joke back. 


Ignoring me, she next recommends I continue to run.

She knows I used to run every day and haven’t had the energy to get in as many miles as I used to. I say sure to shut her up and end the session. Later, I half-a** commit to myself to run four miles a day. Perhaps then an Ensure would sound good? 

Nah. Instead, I decided that after I run 20 miles a week, I will reward myself by cooking a new recipe.

The first recipe, courtesy of The New York Times, was Pickled Mushroom Salad. If you hate fungi, don’t tap out just yet. Or maybe do. Who am I to say? I love mushrooms and can’t imagine anyone not. 

RELATED: Woman Asks Husband For A Divorce Immediately After Wedding Because Of Prank He Pulled During Reception


If you’re thinking my recipe selection is bizarre, hear me out.

Mushrooms are decomposers and break down dead plants to recycle their nutrients. So my reasoning was that by eating the mushrooms, they work their magic and break down my dead relationship.

Another mushroom superpower: they can thrive without any light and require little energy to grow. And anyone who has gone through a divorce knows it’s a dark, dark place.


Oh, and obviously mushrooms are a fungus and who hasn’t thought of their ex as a fungus at one time or another? Hopefully, I converted any anti-fungi folks out there. 

Anyway, I invited my mom over for dinner and made the mushroom salad. I plated the mushrooms over a fat, grilled slice of sourdough bread, topped with a generous dollop of creme fraiche, and gave us each a holiday pour of Sauvignon Blanc.

We both helped ourselves to seconds and then my mom finished the bowl of mushrooms with a spoon.

No judgment: Her appetite has been untouched — she’s been divorced for more than 15 years. So it does get better.

RELATED: I Threw Myself An Epically Fabulous Divorce Party At The Plaza Hotel


Meghan Krein has a background in clinical psychology and for over 15 years, she worked as a therapist in prison and psychiatric hospitals. She also spent time as a relationship expert, acting as a consultant for adult boutiques, and radio and tv shows.