I realize that there is a common theme among all of the emails I send to friends and family no matter what the content of the emails are. I always tell them what I made for dinner or what I’m making for dinner or breakfast. It’s borderline inappropriate. In my spare time I also realize, that while reading a book, working out, traveling or anything else I do, I’m thinking about food and how to make it. I don’t stay up at night reading recipe books, though I’d like to, I don’t have a favorite chef except for my mom, my mother-in-law and my grandma (the best cook in the world) and I do eat out a lot, whenever and wherever I can. But, cooking somehow brings me joy in a way I never expected.
By way of example regarding emails:
“Thanks for being empathetic. Yes, I’m on this project at work which in and of itself is interesting. It’s a lot of work with a lot of high stress people who are looking to make partner. I don’t mind though. I just do my work and I know my work is good. Being tried for me is an exercise in keeping your barriers up and self-soothing. The best part of the week though was the awesome meal i made last night. Here’s the menu:
Albondigas de pavo sin grasa
Herb crusted salmon
Datiles relleno de almendras y queso (goat cheese) wrapped in low fat turkey bacon
Baked berenjena con miel (a special from cordoba) and
Baked sweet potato with pan seared sea scallops
It was fing delicious and made me want to applaud. I think if you cling to the things you love it helps you get through the crazy crap.”
“Last night, I was up late making my first noodle kugel and reading Inca history. I couldn’t sleep until the kugel cooled down enough to put into the fridge. Reading late into the night meant that Spaniards, mountains and battles permeated my dreams. I’m trying to understand the Peruvian culture of coping with poverty through stoicism and honing the instinct of survival. The food in Peru is incredible. Kiwicha porridge, potatoes, thousands of varieties and sweet corn. I need to learn how to incorporate that into my dinners. Today though, I’m struggling at work because of that damn kugel, which I think came out a little too sweet. Want to get lunch later?”
When I was in school I used to eat to live. I remember splitting a $1.50 soup with my boyfriend at the time, now husband, because neither of us had the money to splurge for an appetizer. I cooked with all carbs and the higher fat percentage proteins because they were cheaper and filled you up. A restaurant with an average price of entree higher than $10 was a splurge for us.
Now that we’re older and both work harder than a pack of dogs, we can shop for vegetables, cheeses, and all sorts of wonderful fresh foods that were previously beyond our budget. It opened me up to a whole world of food I never really appreciated. For the first time in all of our time together we have a dining room table. No longer do we eat on dinner trays while sitting on our couch. We purchased the table a couple of weeks ago and I actually shed a tear of happiness at being able to sit at a table and enjoy my food. It was a moment. I think it took me three meals to not tear up as we ate.
Right now I’m making stuffed cabbage (cilantro, onions, dill, tomatoes, salt pepper, 97/3 turkey ground) and butternut squash with cinnamon and nutmeg) just for fun. The excuse I made for cooking today, even though it’s a weekend and I should probably be doing something like laundry or writing or the work that’s due Monday, is that I bought a pair of shoes that needs breaking in and if I wear them outside I can’t return them. So i thought I’d go to the grocery store (across the street) in them and walk around in them while cooking. Now my feet hurt, but I have an incredible smelling, hot stuffed cabbage and butternut squash waiting for me in the kitchen.
I’m technologically disinclined, but I will try to upload some pictures of some of the dishes I make that I take with my camera phone.
Lastly, the reason I’m trying this blog is that I also have a fiction blog (www.serescritora.wordpress.com), another realm of the world that has profoundly influenced my life and a lens through which I process the world. When I talk about food in my writing, which is often, I seem to be more relaxed and don’t pour over every word the way I do when I talk about fiction and its profound influence in my life. The painstaking process of a short story is so different than the creative process of putting together a meal. So this site will be a foil to the other site and will hopefully provide entertainment for everyone at work while we toil away.
I feel a little bit ridiculous writing about food, but my goal is to tell tales of culture, family and personal growth through the lens of cooking and eating, which are universal human experiences, but unique to each person. I wanted to share my unique corner of it, at least for a brief while because a few people have asked, because of the conversations I have with my grandma about what’s for dinner every time we talk and to leave something for posterity when the ephemeral smells, sounds and tastes of cooking have already been enjoyed or tolerated or savored and committed to memory. I want document it for those who have taught me the joy of cooking, but who themselves have let it disappear with the loss of a loved one or loss of faith or loss or job. I also write for those whose own joy has yet to be discovered, the food created with hope of the future. I hope that I can serve the purpose well through the craft of writing this blog and hope for some readers. Ultimately, though, I’m doing it for myself because I cannot help but write.