I tried a fancy vegan recipe yesterday. Pumpkin ricotta stuffed shells with bechamel sauce (all plant based and all made from scratch). The woman on the cooking video said it was an easy recipe but at the end of a very long day of studying the video, going to several stores for ingredients, working fervently to make everything and put it all together in a timely manner and without over cooking things, then washing piles of kitchen tools that were required to make the one pan dish…I don’t really agree that there was anything easy about it.
And in the end, I didn’t care for the dish at all. The family liked it plenty and for that I’m glad or it would have been a loss of a day. I didn’t even take a photo of the end result I was so disappointed. But the boys and man devoured a big pan and a half.
I’ve been relearning to cook with plants and, as some of you know, when you get into cooking this way you learn so much about seasoning and how to manipulate vegetables and fruits. I love this new way of cooking. However, it is taking some extra studying, shopping, and hours in the kitchen right now as I teach myself to cook foods that are clean, healthy and delicious. After all, if the food is blah and tasteless or boring, no one will continue on this journey, not even myself.
So, I live in my kitchen right now. I watch the day go from a crisp but dark light in the morning to a golden light that fills the kitchen with warmth in the afternoon. I watch a cooking video or two, I thumb through cookbooks, make list in my notebook, and pull out spices and herbs from my cupboards to marinate and mix.
The old radio on the cabinet plays 80’s and 90’s. Sometimes Delilah comes on in the evening to select those sentimental songs her callers request to win back an old love or to celebrate a devout partner. Sometimes I listen to a lecture by Dr. Joe or Bruce Lipton. I listened to an old interview with Thich Nhat Hanh and Oprah last night.
It’s the coziest and happiest place to be, actually. I work and cook, wash loads of dishes and tools, I listen to all this wonderful stuff, children wander in and out of the room, sometimes they stay and draw pictures, tell me a story, or just sit and read a book. The husband wanders in to see what is easily accessible to devour and is asked to leave when he breaks a kitchen rule by touching things and trying to eat parts of my recipe.
I have been enjoying anything and everything I find on Zen Buddhist monks: Walk With Me, How To Cook Your Life, now this Jeong Kwan on The Chefs Table…
Why? Not that I want to run off to the hills and become a monk or become Buddhist or join a group. No, I most certainly don’t want to join any groups. But I love this feeling of peace, a slow and simple life, a focus on one thing. Not the usual life with a few projects and focus spread out on so many topics and so many “priorities”. What would life be like if we just focused on one thing?
Home. Home is where the healing is.
The gardening and scratch cooking in itself is an act of spiritual practice and connecting to life, the earth, Spirit. There is nothing more healing than spending a day in a clean, cozy kitchen rolling out a pizza crust, making a sauce from fresh vegetables you picked from the garden an hour ago, having your child sit at the table and read a book to you.
Home is where you will find your soul and worth.
I love all that Taoism and Zen monk living because I watch it and then I go about my housework differently. I practice moments of silence all through out the day. I quiet the mind when I’m in the garden picking the last of the tomatoes and basil, when I sweep the kitchen floor instead of vacuum, when I wash another tub full of dishes, when I put together a meal that I know is full of nourishment for my family.
I’m also loving this book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It all ties in together. Learning to simplify and purge until you are down to what really matters and then putting all the focus and love into that.
Family and home. It is where I’m the most creative and content.
Homemaking in itself is an act of play. Think of all the times you rearrange the house, move a painting, try a new bedspread, arrange flowers for the table.
Cooking is an act of creativity. Learning new recipes, studying piles of cookbooks, measuring, testing, simmering, shopping for new spices.
Being with your children and watching them grow and learn about life. Being able to build a nest for everyone to feel safe and thrive.
Being a homemaker is a lovely job.