The next ten days are grading frenzy for me. This is the time when I have more on my plate then I feel as if I can handle. In the past, I have burnt the candles at both ends and did not take the time I needed to sleep, eat properly, do my physical therapy or take care of myself as I should have. This semester, I have decided to do all these things out of an expression of self-respect for myself and for my relationship with my Higher Power.
How can I say I honor myself and the Divine if I am not taking care of myself or the one who dwells within me. This semester I have decided to take a moment to plan out meals to eat which are quick and easy to prepare, that I can prep once and dine multiple times, and that are easy enough for Zoe to reheat when she is hungry. I have budgeted time in for my exercises and physical therapy. I have given myself permission to take power naps when I need to. Read More
This week I was going to reflect on what I learned about freezing from the book I am cooking my way through, The Make Ahead Vegan, but then life happened. Three people of varying importance in my life passed over and I, once again, found myself in this state of grief. I once again found myself wondering if meditations of my heart and my work in this world was making a difference. So I did what I normally do and then the signs began to pop up as they tend to do when I need them the most. Yet despite those signs I did not feel motivated to write about food. I wasn’t really feeling motivated to even cook food this week. It was just one of those weeks where I wondered how I could make eating plant based food feel junky and comforting. I haven’t been successful at that either. The the universe heard and answered my prayers in the form of the following random Facebook message from a woman and an organization I had never heard of.
Hi, Sharon--I found your blog when I was seeking inspirational words about how food is a global language. I am one of two founders of a non-profit in Austin, Texas, that is dedicated to help refugee women use their amazing cooking skills and heritage to earn money and integrate into our community. One of the things we do is host dinners--people buy tickets to come and eat food from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., and meet these women, etc. We're about to do one with Chefugees from Syria and Iraq, and I would love to include the passage below on the inside of our printed menus (there will be one at each guest's place).
When you look at this image and this quote, they both provide the same advice. Whatever you are doing in life, bring it! Bring enthusiasm, bring your soul, and bring your passion to the dish or to whatever you do. A recipe is nothing more than a recipe. It is what you bring to it, how you prepare, and the love you infuse into it that brings it to life. Read More
I have often talked about the importance of cooking with love. It is that secret ingredient which people seem to be able to taste in your cooking. However, I have found that love without humility seems to affect the outcome of the dish. One of my favorite stories about this is told by Mary Beth Crain. She tells the story of making a dish for her mother which she should not have been eating as it was not a diabetic friendly dish.
I feel, however, that I must issue a warning: cooking with love doesn’t always bring great results. Over the holidays I got an old American Home Magazine from 1937, in which I found, of all things, an ad for Royal Baking Powder featuring a recipe from none other than the mother of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart. For some odd reason I was entranced by the tinted color photo of white-haired old Mother Earhart, looking maternal and saintly, presenting her beautiful platter of fried chicken, gravy and biscuits made with foolproof Royal Baking Powder. The promo read, “’Amelia’s Favorite Dish is My Fried Chicken and Biscuits!’ Says the Mother of the World’s Most Famous Woman Flyer.” Read More
This morning while I was posting my thought for the day to my blog on WordPress, I came across this picture about self-acceptance. While the picture has nothing to do with food, other than counting calories or eating vegan, it has do with something important to one’s approach to cooking, food, and spirituality – YOU. After all, as the sign says we are all different. Our relationships with ourselves, Spirit, and food is not about others, but about us.
As I thought about this, I realized that one could re-create this about food. Read More
As many of you know, we had to travel the last few days to attend a funeral. Doing so kept me out of the physical kitchen for a few days. So coming back last night, I had a new appreciation for my kitchen. At the same time, however, it made me think about what a kitchen is. By definition, a kitchen is “a room or area where food is prepared and cooked.” We tend to think about a kitchen as containing certain things like a sink, stove, and refrigerator. However, the other night I gathered with Zoe’s family in the sitting area of the hotel where we brought down leftovers from the home going celebration and reheated them in the microwave and shared them at what became our “kitchen table”. It reminded me that not every culture thinks about kitchens in the same way or has in the past. Read More
I came across this quote this morning by M F K Fisher, an American food writer, who wrote, “It is a curious fact that no man likes to call himself a glutton, and yet each of us has in him a trace of gluttony, potential or actual. I cannot believe that there exists a single coherent human being who will not confess, at least to himself, that once or twice he has stuffed himself to bursting point on anything from quail financiere to flapjacks, for no other reason than the beastlike satisfaction of his belly.” I had to smile when I read this quote because I know that for myself this is so true. While I have never stuffed myself to the bursting point on quail financiere, nor have I ever had it, I have stuffed myself to that point on lobster in clarified butter, shrimp cocktail, sushi, sashimi, scallops, and a few other items, which just seem to scream more when I am eating them.
So why is it that we have all had our gluttonous moments, but none of us likes to own them? Why it is that we each have those stories of eating our way to this space of beastlike satisfaction of our belly, but we do not feel free to openly talk about it or share those moments, or to even acknowledge the possibility of their existence? Perhaps one of the reasons is because gluttony has been described by many spiritual writers as one of the seven deadly sins. Most people do not like to acknowledge participating in these sins during their daily lives. Read More
Last night, my Reiki teacher brought some of her left overs to share with us after my attunement. So I brought out our leftovers as well. This included collard greens Chilean butternut squash, cauliflower with cheese sauce, cabbage casserole, macaroni and cheese, and salad. As things made it to the table, Maryanna expressed how excited she was to try the casserole and the macaroni and cheese, as they are legendary. Her comment caught me off guard, as I have never thought about food or a dish as being legendary. I had no idea my cabbage casserole, which I still do not like, or my macaroni and cheese were so well known as to be legendary. However, apparently they are.
As I thought about this, I began to remember a conversation earlier in the week between my friends Nina, Sam and my wife Zoe. They were all talking about the dishes I had made for them that left them lingering for more. They enjoyed them so much that months after eating them the memory of the experience in their mouths lingered on and left them remembering and savoring every delectable bite. To be honest, nothing that I make leaves me with that feeling, although I am glad it does that for others. Read More
If you are even thinking this is going to be about that word you are wrong, it is really about a few other F words – fear, food, and faith. There are a few lessons, which have shaped my perspective and understanding of fear. One lesson was that fear is an acronym, which stands for FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. As I thought about it, most of the things I feared were based on evidence that did not exist or had been constructed in my head. Another lesson I learned came from sociologist Allan Johnson, who wrote about how our fears are based on what we think we know, whether they are true or not. Then there is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said during his first inaugural address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That is not to say that we do not ever experience fear, even the most enlightened of spiritual leaders experience fear. It is not whether or not we experience it, but what we do with it. Read More
This week my blog is slightly different then usual. L T Bentley invited me to be part of this blog hopping journey called The Next Big Thing. I think the purpose is to help us discover the next great book that we absolute have to read or an author whose works might just resonate with our spirits. I had never heard of her work before, but given that I am a Gemini, I am looking forward to reading something outside of the norm for me, her book Shattered Gemini, is a psychological murder mystery. Who knows her work might be the Next Big Thing, or perhaps mine is. Who knows?
I have never written fiction that is unless you think about my life as a piece of fiction, which is a work in process. In my life story, then I am the main character and everyone else in my life are the supporting cast of characters. Read More
If you have been reading my blog for any length of time at all, you know I usually write from my heart. Today, started no differently. Every time I sat down to write I found myself thinking about numbers and not food. After trying to focus on food, cooking, and the principles of Zen for several hours, I ultimately wound up back at numbers. Seeking inspiration, I pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks and randomly opened a page, which talked about the three basics of soup making. So here I was ultimately back at numbers again. Read More
At a dinner gathering a while back, one of our guests told me that my cooking made her feel so happy. As I spoke with her more about this, I came to realize that it had little to do with what I had made, or even about what she had eaten. What made her feel happy was the love she experienced sitting at our table. Sometimes we think food can make us happy. I will be the first one to tell you that a plate of sushi or sashimi will always bring a smile to my face. Digging the goodies out the ice cream is always a fun thing for me to do. When I was a child, I always loved twisting the cookies apart and licking the middle of the Oreo’s and sucking the cream out of the Twinkies. Read More
So many of the chefs I have watched on television or read about in their cookbooks have spent a good part of their lives traveling around the world. My niece has just finished spending several months studying in Italy and after a brief reunion with my brother and her siblings will be traveling back to Switzerland. She has had an opportunity to travel to various regions and tasted some amazing food. She has been exposed to sauces, soups, spices, and ingredients I probably have never heard of. Read More
For the last few years, I have been working on living the four agreements as presented by don Miguel Ruiz. However, tonight I realized I had not thought about applying these agreements to a specific aspect of my life, my relationship with my body. I had focused on my mind and my spirit, but not my body. I had this epiphany while reading Marianne Williamson’s book A Course on Weight Loss. One of the things she wrote about was how it is not about the food, it is about your mind. Read More
Recently, someone asked me what it is that I love about cooking. Anything that I do in the kitchen, whether it be cooking or baking is more then just what I produce. What I love about creating in the kitchen is that it connects me with people around the world. Although we may all do it in different ways, the one thing every culture in the world does is prepare food and eat it. Food and the preparation of it is something that enables us to come together as a global community and speak a common language. Even if one has never prepared a single dish or meal in their lives, they have eaten one. Read More