Weekend Reading
March 17, 2024

Yesterday I went to see a movie called The Taste of Things. Set in the late nineteenth century, it’s a love story between a cook and the gourmet she works with.

I went to see the movie spontaneously, without a lot of background on it, and I didn’t realize how detailed and lingering the depictions of cooking with animal foods would be. I looked away during many of them, and I mention this for others who might be distressed by those scenes.

Even so, the movie is a touching depiction of love between kindred spirits.

It’s also a joyous, sometimes sad, often funny celebration of the passion (and obsession) that certain people have for food.

One thing that stood out to me as I was watched the film was the sheer amount of labor that it portrays.

The prolonged scenes of cooking involve digging tender lettuces from the earth in the early hours of the day, hoisting around heavy pots and pans, painstakingly cleaning and chopping vegetables, straining and re-straining stocks and clarifying butter through metal chinois, preparing ice cream in antique ice cream makers (filled with actual ice cubes), and thickening sauces over a great, old iron stove.

So much work. Yet the chef seems calm and self-assured, even serene, as she works.

I wish!

I have an above average adoration of food, but increasingly I realize that I much prefer the eating to the cooking.

Just a few days ago I wrote about how the only thing I had energy to cook last week was lemon-marinated baked tofu slices.

I frequently feel annoyed when I have to soak and clean any cookware that isn’t nonstick.

This morning, I sat at my kitchen counter for more than thirty minutes, avoiding the simple task of cutting a crown of broccoli into florets and pieces.

The characters in The Taste of Things would not be impressed!

I actually don’t feel badly about my on-and-off-again resistance to cooking. I developed a sense of humor about it as I was writing The Vegan Week,

But the movie did remind me how beautiful it is to cook a meal with a sense of dedication, a commitment to creating something delicious that overrides any complaint about the labor that’s involved.

With that in mind, I went about my meal prep with a good attitude today. I accomplished more than I have in weeks.

As I cooked, I tried to reframe my usual internal dialog, which amounts to, “I’d rather get it over with now than have to do it later this week.”

Instead, I tried to conceptualize the good food that would result from my efforts. I thought about how nice it would be to eat my meals; I thought about their textures and flavors and colors.

I reminded myself of how worthwhile it is to lovingly create something nourishing and pleasurable from scratch.

What I cooked wouldn’t impress a gourmet, but it will feed me well. And that’s what counts.

Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

1. In the spirit of the movie I saw, a simple recipe for vegetable pot-au-feu.

2. I love the looks of quick, easy-to-veganize, and wholesome quinoa risotto.

3. I’ve never made white chili with chickpeas, but this recipe is inspiring me to try.

4. What better way to welcome spring than with a bowl of vegan asparagus soup?

5. I’m not a matcha person, but I’d need zero convincing to enjoy a slice of this lovely marbled loaf cake!

Reads

1. An interesting examination of the neurological underpinnings of our tendency to look for silver linings.

2. I’m glad to see increasing media coverage of orthorexia, including a recent article from CNN online. I It’s so important for there to be more understanding of this type of eating disorder and the way that it presents.

3. I was happy to read about a social group that’s aiming to make transitioning feel less isolating for older adults.

4. If you find yourself sad and unsettled in the springtime, you’re not the only one. I do, too, and I know how lonely and strange it is to feel this way when so many people are celebrating longer and warmer days.

This article and this article say a few words about springtime blues and why it’s a real phenomenon. If your response to the season has always felt a little mystifying to you, perhaps you’ll find them validating.

5. On the flip side, when I have the energy, I find spring cleaning to be a refreshing and energizing ritual. I take it in steps and make small efforts.

This list of tips is fun to read, and there will probably be at least one tidbit that feels realistic and achievable for you.

On that note, I’m off to clean my apartment in the wake of my meal prep 😉

Have a peaceful Sunday evening, and a happy Saint Patrick’s Day to those of you who are up to something festive.

xo

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