Did you watch that episode of Iron Chef?
“Did you see that last episode of Iron Chef?” is a question I often get. When I tell people the truth (nope), they get disappointed. But honestly, I would rather be in the kitchen myself poking around, trying out different ingredient combinations, and experimenting on my own time. The drama of cooking shows turns me off because there is already so much drama for folks when it comes to food. Watching a show that tells me feeding myself is an insurmountable challenge isn’t my idea of relaxation. Call me crazy.
Most of those shows evoke a feeling of achieving the impossible in the kitchen. The kitchen, the primary room of the house used for taking care, feeding, and nurturing our bodies (and for some of us, our minds and spirits) has instantly become a battleground. This idea of cooking as a form of impossibility has been embedded in the psyche of our culture for too long. Coming home and cooking something that actually tastes good and is good for you seems more like climbing Mt. Everest than just making food.
If I really want some food drama, I’ll make something I’ve never made before using only what I have in my pantry and fridge (watch out, it can get crazy!). But honestly, the challenge for me, and for a lot of us, lies in feeding ourselves well, regularly, while gracefully dealing with the confrontations the rest of our lives can impose upon us.
Last year, I experienced a shift in how I approach food. Living back east where the access to good food—and other things that nourish like clean air, spending quality time outdoors, and taking in breathtaking scenery—are harder to come by than they are back in the Pacific Northwest. This has forced me to be much more aware of not only how I spend my time, but also what I put in my body. When I’m able to nourish myself with beautiful hikes, leisurely afternoons having tea with good friends, and breathing in fresh, pine needle air, I can honestly eat worse. An extra glass of wine, three more cookies, extra butter on a fresh slice of baked bread doesn’t have the same effect as they do when life is a bit more hectic.
But this is just me. The way I deal with adjusting to a more intense pace of life is by pulling back every so slightly and cooking really good food each night. Instead of photographing or thinking too much about it, I’ve been simply enjoying it.