“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
This blog entry is about how not only food itself can be healing, but the act or meditation of making it. I feel blessed to have access to such amazing foods here in Seattle, as well as the physical and mental ability, and heart, to make amazing food. Heck, I even have the pleasure of assisting some amazing chefs during their cooking classes, taking classes for free…..dang, I feel good about that. What a life!
Some days are better than others, full of experiences and possibilities, neither good nor bad, but certainly some are fabulous and others seem just miserable. Today could have been a horrible day all day, but after a short stew in my misery, I used will power to push through and create my own better experience.
After this super busy week, I thought I’d drag my butt out of bed for some yoga to free up my aching bones. Ugh, cold winter. I pulled the blinds, saw a little peek of sun; that was all the motivation I needed to get ready and zip off to class. I welcomed the day after class, feeling refreshed and open to my day full of possibilities. I grabbed a few things I needed at the Farmers Market, then headed home to cook for a bit before running off to a breath workshop. Everyone needs to breathe, and well!
Alas, that’s when the day grabbed me by the hair and yanked me into a different reality. One full of negative, reactive energy. Well, I’m not really into that, and most certainly not dwelling on it, I knew I had been too busy to relax this week and that often makes my fuse a tad shorter. I decided I must cook it out of my system, or at least off my mind. I had a few plans for the night, kept one commitment, and to my own surprise, I decided self-care was far more important than going and seeing anyone this evening. But what kind of self-care? A bath? A nice cup of tea? Phone call with a friend? Soothing music? Whatever I chose, I knew I needed something to soothe my soul, to feed my spirit.
So what did I choose? I chose an evening in the kitchen with myself. COOKING!!! Wow. It was the best thing I could have done for my psyche, my soul, and my body. I really really really got into it. And, as weird as it may seem, I set an intention with my ingredients before I began. I knew that my energy was off and I didn’t want to infuse my cooking with it; I intentionally made a little pact with my food: that I was cooking to heal and any energy I put out should be transformed into love and healing.
Now I don’t know about all that so-called woo-woo energy stuff and how it all works, but I do know that I felt like Jesus or something from the Bible story where he turns something into Mana and it just keeps increasing. I used the same amount of grains as I have before for my dishes, but this time I have more than double the amount of Risotto as I did before, even the mushrooms just seemed to expand (no jokes here people, it wasn’t like Alice in Wonderland, hehehe). Not only that, but I spent so much time and energy making the dishes – stirring, combining, adding, stirring, stuffing, sprinkling, grating, and chopping, I completely forgot I’d had that teeny little hiccup earlier in my day! And I gained clarity about it all at the same time.
All the time I cooked and photographed my food, I thought of all of my friends who have shared their enjoyment of it in the past, I imagined delivering little surprise goody bags to them (too bad they need to be refrigerated or I would have been Santa tonight). I thought of my family, I wrote little thank you posts in my head to all the people that helped me in the kitchen:
- I thanked my mother for teaching me via homemade macaroni and cheese how to make a dish on the stove top and then crisp it in the oven after (I did this tonight with both my Polenta and my millet)
- I thanked my last boyfriend for showing me during a traditional family dinner preparation how to thinly slice garlic and stuff it into a roast along with rosemary (tonight I did this with shallots and garlic in my Polenta prior to baking it)
- I thanked all of those teachers that teach PCC Cooks classes that influenced my dishes tonight (I adapted recipes from Omid Roustaei and Siona Sammartino)
- I thanked my sister Leanne who played a part in changing my mood just by showing up
- I thanked my cats for making it more fun as they hovered and sniffed with curiosity. Oh, and I did that too.
The best part, I feel grateful and my dishes taste even more fabulous than I could have hoped. My generosity of sharing food blows me away tonight – I just want everyone to feel this good. The act of cooking tonight has been healing, clearing and clarifying, meditative, calming, exciting, creative, and offered my soul something to nourish it, both through the creative process and the eating process. This is true soul food. My body and soul are basking in the glow of hearty, seasonal, organic, local, fresh, whole foods prepared with love, tenderness (to myself and the ingredients), and gratitude.
Shall we all strive to experience food like this as often as possible….SOULfully.