Some of the absolute best things in my life are incredibly hard to explain. Things like why I traded the idea of big city lights for dark, country nights. Or how I got started as an artist. I tried to explain that one at the Mill St. Market a couple of weeks ago and there didn't seem to be enough words to fill in the gaps from "I used to be a teacher" to "Now I'm an artist".
I would say the same is true of my passion for food and cooking. I've always been interested in food, but not like this. In years past I've been overwhelmed by cooking, while also trying to learn how to be a new mom. Or I've been in a season of counting calories and discontent with my body, therefore stealing the fun from the kitchen.
Now I'm in a just right place. I'm focusing on eating real food and have fallen so in love with cooking. I can't really say what did it. This winter I began a new obsession with cookbooks and especially ones that were well-styled and beautiful and used real, non-processed ingredients.
(Save your strawberry tops! Put them in a pitcher of ice-cold water and enjoy!)
Fast forward to our New York City trip where every kind of food imaginable (literally) is available at almost any given time. I have no other words to describe it other than "food heaven." I'm seriously so in love with the place I'm thinking like crazy how Brett and I can get back there. That fascination, combined with my new hobby of listening to food podcasts while I fold the laundry, has me viewing cooking as an art these days.
I'm really big into buying the basics at Aldi twice a month and trying not to have extra trips in-between, eating from the garden, cooking real food and limiting the junk, and making things up. Literally. We have "made-up" dinner several times a week, if not almost every night. This means I go into the pantry and look around, while also taking stock of what the garden has. Then I make a recipe up. This method has yet to fail me.
(Bread that's about to go old becomes croutons. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season as you wish. Then bake at 350 until crispy.)
For example, tonight I'm dreaming up a crispy corn tortilla topped with refried beans, charred garden greens and avocado, a fried egg, a bit of sour cream, maybe a few jalapeños, and some dip/dressing I made from leftover radish tops.
THAT kind of thinking gets me excited. A made-up meal that will be an art to make.
I've also been really big on spending the time and logging in the hours in the kitchen. Not hours everyday, but I certainly devote a chunk of my time in the kitchen. I want to nourish the girls and Brett and all who enter the doors of our house, well.
This means a couple of days a week I deem "food prep days". On these days you might find me blanching some garden greens, chopping strawberries to freeze, baking a loaf of bread, making granola, or cooking a whole chicken and making bone broth. Or any other number of activities that could be considered "prep."
I've also started my first batch of kombucha (fermented tea) in the kitchen too! I'll let you know in about a week how it tastes.
The girls are almost always welcome to join me in the kitchen. I say *almost* because sometimes I just need to get in there and get things done! But they are learning too, right along-side me and they know that Mama loves to be in the kitchen. The word that comes to mind over and over when I think of cooking for myself and others is "nourish."
How about you and where are you on the food spectrum?
Do you consider yourself a foodie or interested in food?
I am all about finding ways to include art in everyday life and food is such a fun outlet for me to do that! I'm not looking to win Top Chef or anything, but judging from my first burned meal as a newlywed 'till now, I'd say it's fair to call myself a good cook.
Life is good around the table!