I recently just finished my first article for the magazine “2 Raw For TV.” I’m their new Food and Beverage Writer, which I think deserves a little bit of fanfare! My article about “Healthy Comfort Food” will premiere in June. I will, naturally, jump around on the blog and scream happy about it. Hell, I’m doing so right now!
Whilst I am tooting my own horn I am sitting in Cafe Jiji, a joint I reviewed in: https://gratuitousgrub.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/jiji/ that has become my “office” of sorts. There is nothing like being able to sit down in a nice sunlit corner of a cafe, whip out my computer and not actually have to even ask for a glass of wine. It just appears. It’s always different but completely suited to my taste. I can sit for hours. I can be still. Quiet. Alone. I can write.
My world has been in a massive upheaval, as of late. I have had some pretty scary health issues, particularly in my stomach realm, which as a foodie is really upsetting. Directly following (like by a day) some dear friends of mine moved to the other side of the world. Then I opened my home to a friend who is being deported in a few weeks and lost her apartment. As a solitary being (aside from my sainted, patient and understanding husband), it has been a challenge to share my little insular world, to “learn to be still,” as my father likes to quote “The Eagles” to me. Alas, I have been where she is, having been virtually weeks away from deportation myself at one point in England and know the fear of not knowing what I am going to do next. To top it ALL OFF my in-laws are in town. They do not like me. I have never figured out why, but there it is. Naturally things went from bad to worse. Well I went from bad to worse. Let’s put it that way.
I never thought of myself as a fragile person but I suddenly found myself weak, strained, despondent, desperate to be left alone and, the most amazing of all things, NOT EATING! I have rarely, if ever, lost my appetite! I am laughing to myself quietly, thinking of a zombie sitting at a fine restaurant saying “no sir, thank you very much but I have had quite enough brains.” Burp.
I was cooking food for everybody, my friend, her son, my family and so on. Three course meals every night! Boeuf Bourguignon! Bison Steak in a Whole Grain Mustard, Agave and Rosemary Rub! Red Berry Pie! Creamy Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup! And a salad….oh a salad, my friends, that would knock your panties off! It was a randomly made up mix of fresh arugula, romaine, chopped cherry essence prunes, almonds, kalmata olives in a roasted orange bell pepper, garlic, onion and red wine viniagrette!!! It was stupid awesome.
I put so much energy, love, and power into my work, cooking for these folks that I found myself left with no energy at all. I have heard people talk about housewives and mothers giving so much to everyone but themselves that they lose their minds. I hit a breaking point. There was only so much my psyche, who is used to getting away with everything like a spoiled child of single parents….oh wait…..yeah. Here I am, a grown ass woman, with delusions of grandeur such as becoming some relief worker in, like, India, someday, and I can’t even handle a few people I care about being in my space for a millisecond. I suddenly feel like I am so damn selfish that I should be on The Real Housewives of Okinawa….if there were such a travesty.
Yet I do feel that there is truth in the concept that you HAVE to take time for yourself. Step away. This afternoon the atmosphere in my world could be spread on a Carr’s cracker and served with some fig confit and brie. I left the house, this little computer in my backpack, my journal, my pen and my sunglasses. Every step I took toward my favorite cafe was a breath of fresh air and when I sat down at “my” table to a fresh, gorgeous little feast of fresh fish and veggies with a gorgeous bottle of wine I felt as if winter had blown away my stress. When Manekin, my fairy godfather of wine (and Jiji manager) said to me “You look like Spring! Outside also a little like Spring! I bring you a plate and glass full of Spring! Enjoy Spring!” I finally took a hint. Seasons, days, circumstances….they all change, just like the menu at Jiji. Just like the food I buy from my local markets. Just like the mandatory rotation of the fridge.
And I could change.
I could choose to be blustery, grey old winter, withering everything around me, or I could rotate. I could be spring. Shiny and hopeful for warm days and sunshine and a new crop of basil in the garden. So tonight, I am going to do what I can to sprinkle light on my friends and family. I am going to hit up the farmers stall, grab what is beautiful and fresh and serve it up as a peace offering. But also as some sort of comfort, because I know now, I am not the only one who needs quiet, love and support.