After unpacking and putting away all of our wedding gifts, my cookbook shelf was full up. That’s a lot of culinary expertise to wander through and experiment with. This is perhaps why the same meal rarely graces our dinner table twice. It’s a good thing Alex embraces the art of non-attachment.
When I started meal planning for this week, I decided to choose ONE cookbook (the horror!) and pull all or most of my meals out of it. I chose The Sprouted Kitchen because it’s pretty and because it’s a little less daunting than say Roots or Vegetable Literacy. While I’m not here to review the cookbook, I will say it’s wonderful. Each recipe is accompanied by a personal note or anecdote about the food, a personal touch that I really appreciate in cookbooks. The photos are stunning. And most importantly to me, the recipes aren’t super complicated and thus far have been delicious.
I got into the kitchen on Sunday with the intention of cooking up a bunch of things for the week. At some point, I realized I was missing quite a few ingredients for various recipes. I didn’t have walnuts or dried cherries for the chopped kale salad. I had definitely not roasted a sweet potato for the lentil soup. The carrot and broccoli sprout salad was supposed to have lentils, but we were having it with lentil soup and that’s a lot of legumes.
I couldn’t throw in the towel on the cooking – I had already started all of the recipes and my kitchen was a disaster; I had to make it count. So I subbed almonds and cranberries in the salad. I steamed a sweet potato and tossed it into the soup. I just left the lentils out of the carrot salad. Maybe everything would’ve tasted better or looked prettier if I’d done it to a tee, but it all tasted pretty damn good and looked good enough.
There’s a lesson here. Probably to read the recipe all the way through before starting. But there’s also something to be said for adaptation and knowing when it’s okay to improvise. And when to accept good or great in lieu of perfect. As cliché as it sounds, I find that whatever comes up in the kitchen is usually something that’s coming up in real life for me, too. Sort of like how they say “how you are on the yoga mat is how you are off the yoga mat.”
I have a tendency to move quickly mentally and physically, and I sometimes miss things as I rabbit hop around. So I’m definitely practicing slowing down. But I’m also practicing adapting to the situation I’ve been given or created. If I wake up late and there’s no time for the gym, I do some homework instead and take a long walk in the afternoon. When I realize my house has more piles of clutter and more cat hair than apparently every blogger on the Internet, I remind myself I’m lucky to have a home and that I don’t actually take photos of my house anyway so it doesn’t matter. I’m practicing saying no, I don’t actually need to participate in that social engagement (like I don’t actually need lentils) or yes, I will accept the challenge of a new experience that seems scary (like accepting the challenge of creating a recipe from scratch).
Through all of my cooking on Sunday, I had the sense that everything was working, even though many little things were going wrong. I was reminded that for me, going through life with ease is largely a function of my mindset. When everything feels hard and overwhelming and I’m stressed in the “I never want to do anything ever again” way (versus the “this is scary and hard but awesome and fun” way), it’s time to adapt and take something away or add something new to the mix. I can’t wait to see what cooking teaches me next!