Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cooking Alone

I just spent two hours in the kitchen chopping up the fresh vegetables of the local harvest (and a few out of season and out of the region gems, namely AVOCADOS) to try out some new recipes. I think I've found two new favorites.

First though, I have been feeling awfully smug lately when I use things from my own garden in my cooking. For instance, I brought a salad to our neighborhood National Night Out celebration with my own orange pepper, kohlrabi, and tomatoes in it and I was downright obnoxious. Like carrying it over as if it were a winning lottery ticket. (I could just hear the voice in my head singing Ta-Da!!) Granted, this is my first ever successful sweet pepper AND my tomatoes have failed the last two out of three years, but you know, I didn't know I had it in me to be so proud. 

Tonight wasn't that impressive but I did make use of my own: chives, thai basil, sweet basil, and beet greens. Okay, written out like that, less than impressive. But I do think the combination of basil varieties brought my dressing to a whole new level. So that's kind of fun.

Here are the deeply satisfying vegetarian recipes you too should try, from a newly discovered cooking blog:

They both have a lot going on and, given that, were a lot of work. Gut reaction: worth it.

It was additionally really nice to spend some time alone in my kitchen: chopping, mixing, tinkering, tasting, thinking, humming, and stepping out to the garden every once and awhile to grab more herbs. I've had a whirlwind of a few weeks and coming home today with nothing on the calendar and deciding to make a wholesome, delicious meal just for me, was exactly what I needed. Cooking has really become a respite for me in an otherwise very chaotic busy life.

As I cooked I was able to think over the last few weeks, full of celebration and visitors and so much  love...and ultimately bittersweet goodbyes that are always a part of getting visits from friends who live far away. As of yesterday afternoon, when I dropped Joseph at the bus and said my last goodbye, I've felt a deep, deep quiet.

It's the quiet that comes after a beautiful storm. And as I've always known, I'm happy to be able to feel such deep sadness at the end of such uplifting, joyous merriment. To be able to access the extremes - all of them - makes life worth living. The good is better when we know the other side just as intimately. Seeing 'long-lost' friends and then having to say goodbye again, without certainty of when they will come back, is just a part of this crazy, beautiful existence.

So tonight I sat at my table alone, eating a very delicious meal, thinking of all the people I have seen or connected with over the last month who I would have liked to share it with. But then I thought of the ways all my far-flung loves and friends are constantly with me - Hannah in the moments of pure poetry, Adam when I have a crazy YAY moment, Sarah C when I am tending my garden, Joseph when the world moves me to laughter or tears - and I ate on happily, alone in body but not in spirit.

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