There’s just something about the creative yet often methodical process of making good food that calms my heart and gives me joy.
First, creativity. I am emphatically NOT a recipe follower. With the exception of baked goods and bread (though I’m even starting to stray from the Holden Village and 5 Minutes a Day bread recipes on occasion, now that I have a feel for both) I rarely if ever even consult a recipe. Sometimes I’ll look at a blog post from Not Eating Out in New York or The Heavy Table for inspiration, or to figure out what to do with a random left over ingredient I have lying around. Generally though I’ll hem and haw for a moment, pick some kind of carbohydrate to start from, and go where the wind and spices take me. It also helps that I grocery shop every week and try to have some idea of a couple of meals I want to create for the following week. Which brings me to the joy that comes from being methodical in cooking.
Whether it is shopping or chopping, cooking has a rhythm, a pace, and a heartbeat. Various elements combine in my cart or in my pan to make something [usually] delicious. I know this will happen, and I often surrender to my intuition, both in purchasing where other than trying to get as many P6 items and as few packaged items as possible, and to always have enough coffee I just go with whatever looks good, and in cooking where I taste and add, smell and sprinkle. At least for me, cooking often takes care of itself and releases often previously unnoticed tension in the bargain.
Unfortunately I’m running astoundingly short on time today, but fortunately I have several posts about past joyful cooking adventures. So rather than put together a new story, I direct you, joy-seeking blog readers, to:
My Tastebuds are Loving Winter
Scrumptious Simple Salad
(I should note with the above story that I have since heartily enjoyed asparagus, often with balsamic reduction)
More joy in cooking is in more doing, and summer is certainly the season for it. I hope to experiment with new spices, and particularly learn how to make spicy Asian food of various varieties that has the right balance of flavor. And maybe some new kinds of greens as well?
I also eagerly await the cooking class at The Chef’s Gallery in Stillwater that was promised via homemade gift certificate as a wedding present from Ben’s brother and his fiance.
Lastly, I am enormously excited for the next Thursday and the first pickup of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share that I am splitting with my dear Benjamin and my housemates. If you don’t know about CSAs or have considered joining one but haven’t yet taken the plunge, I have two bits of advice:
1. Learn more and find an extremely extensive list of CSA’s at the Local Harvest website
2. Find a friend or two and DO IT! You will absolutely not regret the super fresh vegetables, new friends, and [more likely than not] great volunteer opportunities.
“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ”
~Harriet Van Horne