19 May, 2011

No Pretense

I've tried to muster the enthusiasm for brisket, eggs, and the coming asparagus. I've tried to cook my family a dinner that is worthy of attention. I've tried to care to want to serve the girls more than bread with butter and honey. I've tried. I've tried. I've tried.

The truth is, I just don't have it in me.

Shopping, planning, cooking, writing, and even reading about food is at the bottom of my list of tolerable activities right now. My energy is devoted to not killing my kids when their energy gets the better of me, to answering the calls from my family when the last thing I want to do is talk, or avoiding the constant crooked finger beckoning of alcohol, sugar, and fat.

It would be easy to say that it's grief. And that would be true. My Dad, my dog, even grief over my old professional life. It's also burn out, insecurity, and the extra weight of life, life, life. I could say that the last 3 months have been killer, but so have the last 6, the last 9, hell the last 18! I could wallow in the crap that has happened from ski accidents to deaths. I could wallow, but then I really wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. And frankly, I don't actually want to wallow - it takes up too much energy.

I want to think about Happy Foods, to enjoy cooking, to get excited about being creative in the kitchen, to grab the girls and hit a farm. It just isn't there, though. I frankly don't give a rat's ass about food right now. I'm desperate for people to bring me casseroles or a pot of chili. I would do anything for my husband to decide to make Spanish Rice every single night.

On top of that, I really don't care to photograph or write about anything I do eat or cook. Hell, I posted a picture of a ridiculous can opener last week. My blog needs some quality control. Or a serious kick in the butt.

I wish I was the kind of person that could stock up on frozen meals or processed food. It really would make life easier right now. The fact that I haven't got there yet means something. It means that not all is lost. Somewhere inside is the person that I do know that I am, the person that ultimately does care whether my kids eat fruit in season and that we know our farmer.

Food blogging started as an outlet for me, a way to practice my writing and get me out of my comfort zone. Then it turned into my comfort zone. Now I'm not sure what it is. Mostly, it's a challenge and I don't mean that in a good way. But I made a commitment and for now I'm sticking with it. That commitment includes being honest and open. In doing that, however, I feel like the tone here hasn't been great. My frustration with life is certainly evident. Coming here must be like hanging out with a whining pessimistic friend - eventually it gets to you.

That doesn't mean I can suddenly pretend to be chipper and fake enthusiasm for another brownie recipe. Perhaps the asparagus will indeed snap me out of things, or maybe I'll find some fiddleheads somewhere? Or maybe time will simply allow my creativity and motivation to slowly creep back? Those girls of mine don't give us much choice. Just the other day, out of nowhere, The Monster asked me to cook some Czech food. Know any good recipes? I've got to find something for some new explorations or the middle aisles of the grocery store just might become my new home instead of the farmers' market. That gives even me a little shudder.

But I would still take any cheese covered casseroles left on my doorstep.

10 May, 2011

Mystery Object

Does anyone know what this is?

My Mom was cleaning out some drawers the other day and came across this potential torture device. We have our theories about what it might be used for, but I'm curious if anyone knows for sure what it is?

04 May, 2011

Happy Foods

Comfort Food gets all the attention. The creamy, cheesy, starchy, and heavy food that we seek when it's cold, when life is hard, when we need a bit of love and a set of arms to hug us isn't around. There comes a point when comfort food isn't enough or it's become too much. That's when we have to pull out the Happy Food.

Happy Food is the food that we love to grow, pick, cook, and eat. It gives us pleasure in thought, touch, smell, and taste. When you think of Happy Food you can't help but smile. In a way it is comforting, but instead of hiding in relief it bursts through you with peace or joy.

It might seem that Happy Food is seasonal. The snow finally melts, green things poke up from the ground, calves are suckling on the ranches. So we start thinking of the ease of warm weather and the fresh food that comes with it. We dream about sun-warmed tomatoes and fresh asparagus. The stews, baked pasta, and spices of winter kept us warm but they need to be put away for at least a few months.

I would argue that we need to find the Happy Food regardless of the time of year. Feed yourself to nurture the joy in your soul, not the pain. Feed yourself the food that fills you with pleasure long before one taste reaches your mouth. Feed yourself happy.

These are the things that feed me happy.

Tomatoes, warm from the bush, salted on toast with aioli, or slow, slow roasted and eaten like candy.

A good burger, preferably my husband's, or a thick, medium-rare steak.

Raspberries picked from the bush, and hopefully made into gecko fingers, and eaten one at a time.

Fresh peaches.

Ice Cream, of pretty much any flavour like Mint Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel, or Strawberry.

Carrots thick with the flavour of the stock they flavoured in a long, slow simmer.

Poached eggs, peppered and placed on hash, last night's veggies, or sauteed greens with feta.

Maple syrup.

Brussels Sprouts. Roasted is the best way, but I'll take them any way I can get.

Pink Grapefruit, eaten in sections on cold, cold winter days. Best with company.

What about you? What are your happy foods?