Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cooking from the Center

I didn't work this year from mid-January to October. When I wasn't planning my wedding, getting married or job-hunting, I was thinking about cooking, reading books and blogs about cooking, and yes, actually cooking. Since I wasn't working, I had the luxury of time and I chose to spend a lot of it in the kitchen, and I've had a lot of people ask me why.

I found cooking to be a great creative outlet and a very meditative process. I could get in a good mental groove chopping vegetables or stirring risotto or sorting through the week's farm share. I rarely felt drained by cooking; it seemed like cooking gave me more energy than it took from me. It felt effortless, like what I was meant to do. I'd found my cooking center.

Now that I'm working full-time again, I had to scale back my weekday cooking. Believe me, I didn't want to but after several poorly-executed meals and a minor meltdown, I realized I had to. So now I'm trying to cook interesting but not-too-complicated food in less time. I make and freeze soups and stews on the weekends to eat during the week, and search my archives and the web for quick but good dishes for weeknight dinners. I was frustrated by the constraints but now I realize it's just an opportunity to re-center. And since we're always having to re-center ourselves as our lives change, it's good practice too.

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