I think I may have mentioned a time or two that I love to cook. I’m quite serious. Cooking makes me feel at peace with the world and like myself. Some people find comfort curling up on the couch on a Friday evening to watch a movie after a long and stressful work week. I, however, find solace in the kitchen.
Mind you, a couple of years ago, my life as I had known it for nine years, imploded. I was devastated and there were months in which I barely touched anything in kitchen. Maybe a bowl or a plate and the occasional fork. I lost 20 pounds in a month and I went for weeks without being able to walk into the grocery store without breaking down in tears. I questioned if I would ever be able to cook again.
I have been putting my life back together since then. I got a new job and returned back to the fashion industry after being away for three years. It is so incredibly amazing to be back and to work with so many wonderful people. I moved back to LA. It’s where I need to be and it feels right even if most of my family doesn’t understand. I go hiking every chance I get, not because I’m obsessed with hiking, but because it forces me to see the world differently and to see myself differently. Standing alone on a summit with no sign of civilization helps me to put things in perspective. We are mere specks in the universe and who knows what the universe holds. Our personal problems are minor in the grand scheme of things, if there is a grand scheme of things. Some of the hikes I’ve done in the past couple of years have been incredibly physically challenging and some more like a stroll. Both have their perks but the ones that test my physical endurance have helped me the most. It is through them that I have found my strength both physically and mentally. It is also through them that I have returned back to the kitchen and back to part of me.
It wasn’t easy and there were weeks one summer where I consumed Caprese Salads for dinner every night. Eventually, though, I realized that I needed to step outside of what was familiar and make new food associations. I have always tried new recipes but this was different. It was time to make a conscious effort to create new food memories if you will. Instead of my standby taco recipe I tested new ones and created one that I love even more, plus, it’s incredibly easy and delicious, and made in a crock pot. I’ve done this with a lot of things I used to cook but I’ve also branched out and made things I had never made before. Where I work now, for example, we have #FridayFunday and we rotate who beings breakfast for the team on Friday mornings. I was up again yesterday and like I had done back in May I made a bunch of stuff I had never made before. Thank God for the Epicurious app. I spent several days walking the girls reading recipes on my phone. I finally decided on:
Everything was a hit and, according to my colleagues, better than my last one and, at the last one, recipes were broadcast to our entire office thanks to our category directors. Colleagues have made the Cinnamon Coffee Cake for their friends and family since then and received praise. This time I had to come up with something equally as good if not better. Nothing like a challenge. I’m thinking I will need to start planning what I’m going to do in November or December. Suggestions are welcome!!!