This fell out of my notebook this morning. I think it means I should make one for the blizzard that's coming our way. I love the random reminders of travels past. This was from Costa Rica - JP (the same guy who made the bliss balls) made this Veggie Pate for lunch for us one day when we were pressed for time and needed some help. This note was packed in with the tray. I'm a sucker for a chef that lists love as an ingredient...
It was one of those days. Is my head really that much in the clouds? Sometimes it's better to know exactly what you're eating. And sometimes it's better to not know and unravel it with each bite. I missed my subway stop on the way in to work today. I got on the wrong train leaving work. I was blasting music in my headphones and eating the bag of chocolate covered almonds I bought. Dark chocolate covered almonds are my passion. So perfectly sweet, bitter, crunchy. I was disappointed to see the bag as I pulled them out - they were milk chocolate. Had I not noticed when I bought them? As I was crunching down on about the fifteenth one I realized that in fact they were not milk chocolate and without looking at the bag I remembered that they were cappuccino almonds I had bought. It sounded interesting at the time and I had forgotten the whole moment (which was just a few hours previous). All of the sudden the taste in my mouth was one of an unraveling flavor bursting up against my taste buds in a whole other way. When I had thought they were milk chocolate it was just alright but when I made the taste translation to cappuccino they all of the sudden took on different meaning in my mouth. Is that taste prejudice? I wondered. The dimension of flavor was completely different than milk chocolate. How had it taken me until the twentieth almond to figure this out? Mindless eating. Pockets of time that the mind floats to and can't be called back from. I try to exist with present moment awareness. It's a constant task of being aware of sensations as they surge through your body (vipassana meditators will understand this). Distraction of flavors. Distraction of thought. Distraction of past and future.
I made it home. And continued to enjoy the almonds until they gave me a stomach ache. Sometimes I don't know when to say stop.
Why is easter about colored eggs? Why are all holidays about food? Comfort. Gathering. Community. Some greater purpose. Calling family. Well Wishes. My mom says she's trying to stay calm. Holidays freak her out and put pressure on an already fragile composition of nerves. So she goes on a 7 minute rant about the immediate stress in her life and wishing people would die. Sounds morose, I know. But that's what happens. Total honesty. On the raw leading edge where no filters exist. I juggle it with a grain of salt and go back to my beautiful blue eyed son who is staring at me through the most angelic eyes. Holidays are about the kids. That's what everyone I called tells me today. People who's kids are all grown and they are living on their own now. You can hear it in their voices - missing that carefree happiness that engulfs the little ones that so often leaves the grown-ups. But back to the food. Any excuse to make a meal - make a cake - make a moment in time stand still. A mushroom omelet with jalepeno cheese. Home fries. Baguette slathered in fig jam. Strong french press coffee. A perfect meal. I'll settle for store bought Easter candy for dessert - no time to make a cake these days. There's something nostalgic and fulfilling about York peppermint patties and Reese's peanut butter cups.
Cooking is therapy. There's no way around it for me. Start chopping and spicing and concocting a dish and you find your way home. I'm standing in the kitchen. Staring into the fridge. What do I have. What do I want. What lines up. It's a game I like to play. Make it come together with what's in front of you. If you think too hard you'll miss the point. People (who obviously don't know me) like to talk and contemplate the extent of my mental state. The post-holiday musings post was too real. But what's life without the truth? You can't have the highs without the lows. You know this. How can anyone dare to ask, undirectly, what's in someones mind. If you want to know you'll have to go to the source. That post wasn't meant to be scary or dark. (You should have seen the first few drafts I tried to write - that was scary and dark). It was meant to be real. Truth. And it's a public forum - so open to debate and crticism - but it's also exactly that - open, honest musings. Do we take everything too literal? Maybe so. But don't ever guess and think to know what's really in someones mind.
So, I'm back to cooking. And baking. In stride. I like to make the people around me as happy as I can. And gifting cookies and dinners always seems to please. It's from the heart. It has a little bit of me in it. And the act of doing it works out the kinks in my mind. As we all have an overactive mind that goes down dark corridors and pathways trying to make sense of what's happening around us. I chant into my food. I immerse myself in flavor combinations. I become one with what's in front of me. I truly loose track of time in the most beautiful way. Everyone should be so lucky to find something like this in their lives. And I give the gift of food to my son and my friends around me hoping that they can taste this in every bite and know that all is right in the world.