First of all, apologies for the slower than typical posting cycle lately. In my defense, I’ve traveled pretty much all around the country, and once I arrived back in DC, I was greeted by an empty but unfamiliar house and a twin air mattress. So, the exciting news is that Tyler and I bought a new house! The less exciting news is that we had to sell our first home (bittersweet), pack up, and move. Moving is one of the most unpleasant things a person can do and I’m not going to try and sugar coat it. All of my kitchen stuff was either still at our old house or in boxes. I was delirious from the time change and feeling burnt out. I didn’t cook much and approached it like I would a household chore, trying to get through the task and get food to my face as quickly as possible. But, that isn’t really me.
Thankfully, amidst all the craziness, a friend came to my rescue, in the form of a thoughtful book wrapped in brown paper that arrived on my doorstep; An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. Last Monday, after a stressful weekend of final packing and an entire day spent managing the move of our furniture to the new house- I decided that I earned a pedicure and so the book and I went for a walk. As I melted into the nail salon massage chair and cracked open the book, I was quickly lost in the pages.
This isn’t a typical “how to” book or a cookbook. It doesn’t focus on gluten free cooking. It’s technically considered a collection of essays, but I’m not sure that perfectly defines it either, since there is a mix of advice, cooking philosophy and poetic language that shows off the author’s deep devotion to food. Most importantly, the book is exactly what I needed at a time when I was losing my cooking groove. Many of Adler’s perspectives on cooking are well aligned to my own; approaching it with joy, a little bit of strategy, practicing the think ahead policy, and making the most of simple and healthy ingredients. At first the student in me felt a little overwhelmed (there’s lots of smart thinking here! I can’t take it all in at once!), but once I relaxed and decided to just experience the book, I really started to appreciate it.
After stretching the nail polish drying time beyond reason at the salon to keep reading, I felt reenergized. Reading Adler’s message of simplicity, I was reminded that I didn’t need the ridiculous number of overstuffed kitchen boxes to be unpacked in order to make a good meal.
“ There is a prevailing theory that we need to know much more than we do in order to feed ourselves well. It isn’t true. Most of us already have water, a pot to put it in, and a way to light fire. This gives us boiling water, in which we can do more good cooking than we know.”
So in lieu of unpacking, I went to the store, bought what inspired me and got to work making a turkey bolognase over large gluten free shells. And really nothing grounded me more than opening a bottle of wine, and throwing some in a slow cooking sauce, some in my glass, and chopping away. While the dish didn’t come out perfectly, I felt calm and accomplished in the midst of my chaos. The boxes could wait, but my sanity couldn’t.
Thanks to the inspiration of this well timed book, I’ve gotten my groove back in the (new) kitchen. It’s not big, it isn’t quite my style, and I’m still figuring out how to make all the puzzles pieces work for me; but I’m trying to focus on the simplicity- I don’t need a big kitchen, fancy tools or special training, I just need myself and a little bit of inspiration. So here’s to new recipes coming up this week and finding ways to share what inspires me, with all of you.
p.s. I’m actually still working through the book, it’s the kind you want to think about, mull over, and savor a bit (plus let’s be honest, moving is a long process so life is still hectic), but I was eager to share it and some of these life updates with you all. So if you need a bit of cooking inspiration check it out and come back to tell me what you think!