Saturday, February 16, 2013

coping by cooking

chilled coconut cucumber soup with dungeness crab
when i can't deal with existential uncertainty, i frequently take down my big bamboo chopping block and my messermeister chef's knife and start chopping.  i'm in love with vegetables, and prepping them floods me with a sense of well-being.

putting together a meal satisfies my need for something finite and contained when my head is going to the far ranging places i've tried to forbid it from wandering to.  when the mind is out of control, i can choose my pan, my high, low, or medium heat, my sliced, diced or minced onion, and so on.

grilled marinated mushrooms & zucchinni, deborah madison's pita bread
i've already (over)shared that the past couple of months have been dark and difficult.  my cooking has slowed down a bit. it's been that bad.  but i have managed to keep at least a couple of nice meals a week coming to the table.

sockeye salmon grilled with pernod & sage leaves
to reduce the stress during a hard period, i added rotisserie chicken night, inspired by my little brother who encouraged me to eat a rotisserie chicken with delicious rice, with my fingers, phillipines style,  once a week.  he told me it was the most comforting meal possible, and he might be right.  being my mother's daughter, i had to add a salad, or on the really bad nights, a sliced cucumber with lime and salt, inspired by my sister katie.

i was looking through old photos and found these shots of a dinner party i prepared with my friend alice in seattle one summer, using a beautiful book she gave me called good fish by becky selengut.  all recipes use sustainably sourced fish.  the salmon and grilled mushrooms are things we always eat with alice and jim in seattle.  the grilled mushrooms are the best food on the planet, and it doesn't matter how many i make, they're gone instantly.

i'm starting to feel my culinary energy returning.  what is everyone cooking these days?  does cooking help you cope?  if not cooking, then what?


  1. Sorry about those dark months, Lara. I hope the sun will help turn things around. The lower I go the less I cook. I made jambalaya tonight. I think that's a good sign. Also, I've been having intense fantasies of making flakey pie crust. What does that say?

    1. mary lynn, i've never made jambalaya, though it's been on my to do list for a very long time. intense fantasies about flaky pie crust say, "you're my kinda gal!"

  2. This meal is still shimmering on my soul--it was beautiful in every way. You are a creator of beautiful things. xoxo