words gathered in the studio
As I hammer words into metal, I can't help but think about the meaning behind each one and wonder a bit about why each person was drawn to the word and what it means to them. Some of the words stick with me and become part of my own practice.
Yesterday, I spent some time journaling about my word of the year (whole) and how I want to live from wholeness this month. One theme that keeps coming up is wanting to feel like I am nourishing my body and my family by cooking. I love to cook and I love to eat what I cook, but I haven't cooked much during the last few years. But during the week of Thanksgiving, I was moved to look through a few cookbooks and print out some of Tracy's fall recipes. And I cooked. (hello beef stew. hello roasted butternut squash + apples + potatoes + cranberries.) And it was awesome. And I can't stop thinking about how much I enjoyed cooking while Jon and Ellie and Millie played and talked to me.
As I look to this year, I want to continue to spend time making things from scratch (or from kinda scratch with the help of Trader Joe's) and sit at the table with my little family (or by myself while Ellie naps) and take the time to practice this important piece of self-care (and family care).
But I know that I am going to need to really push myself to do this. So I am writing about it here in the hopes of checking in and maybe getting some support from you about how you do it.
Here are a few of the things I am doing to get started:
1) I reorganized my studio so that my packaging and shipping station is now in the studio and not on the kitchen table.
2) I am choosing one cookbook to really sink into for a bit, and I'm starting with The Barefoot Contessa at Home. I have enjoyed cooking her recipes in the past, and now that I have a Cuisinart (Christmas gift), I feel ready to tackle some of I have looked at with longing in the past.
3) I am asking for help. My mom is visiting later this month and we are going to spend some time talking about what she cooks (she and Steve cook together every night) and put together some "go to" recipes for me. (Does this mean I get to buy a new binder? I hope so.) We are also going to work on making the kitchen a bit more user friendly. Today, we had a long talk about the shifts I want to make with cooking and living in the house I've always dreamed of (meaning a lot less clutter), and I am feeling deeply supported by her and really look forward to her visit. And then my friend Jen is planning to visit next week, and I asked her if we could cook while she is here. (She is a great cook who always uses yummy fresh ingredients and I know I can learn a lot from her.)
4) For Christmas, I gave my dad Molly Wizenberg's book A Homemade Life. I love this book so much, and while reading it a few years ago, I kept thinking about how parts of it were such a beautiful love letter to her dad. I asked my dad if he wanted to read it together and cook recipes from the book with me...kind of like a year-long book/cooking club. This is the first time I have asked him to do anything like this, and I think it will be a really neat way for us to connect across the miles. I am hoping there might even be a meal or two shared via Skype but that might be a little too modern for him (insert big smile here).
5) My mom gave Ellie a little toddler play kitchen for Christmas. It is really fantastic and the perfect size for her. I love that she will be able to begin to imitate me (and Jon) cooking or just enjoy stacking her blocks in the play oven while I cook. I am also thinking about investing in something like this toddler stool with sides. I know it is oh my goodness expensive, but I can't help but think that it would be so awesome for Ellie to be safe while at the kitchen counter playing or coloring or helping me as she gets a bit older. (Hey moms, do you/did you have something like it?)
6) I created a "the year of cooking" pinboard over on Pinterest where I am pinning photos connected to links to recipes I find at sites like Shutterbean and Orangette and Smitten Kitchen and my tried and true favorite Betty Crocker. And I am finding that so many other people have recipe pinboards too so I am checking those out. This feels really motivating because it is such fun to have the visuals of all the possibility that awaits.
As I think about this year of leaning into whole(ness), I am trying to stay really open to the truth that I choose...each day...I choose. And I do hope to check in about this often...maybe there will even be some recipe posts coming up as I learn and eat and nourish.