When in doubt, cook it out

My Ma gave me the gift of including me in the kitchen while she was creating. Ours was a galley style and I can remember sitting at the edge of the kitchen watching her and as I got older, helping her cook and bake. My Ma likes to cook, but baking is really her niche. We had a homemade dessert almost every night growing up. Baking is her happy place.

Her love of baking definitely rubbed off on me and I also find much enjoyment in putting together a delicious baked treat. However, moving to Haiti has shifted what is needed and I find myself cooking almost every night when I “get home” from work (when you’re part of communal living, do you ever really leave home?). There are no fast food options (or $5 Raley’s sales to shop from) here and restaurants require traveling a bit and aren’t cheap. This means, if one of us doesn’t cook, we don’t eat. Fortunately, I really like to cook too! I try to go grocery shopping with recipes in mind but often, I just stock up with staples and create a meal depending on what sounds good – and I love that!

Recently, a friend who gets a weekly vegetable delivery has graciously agreed to split the order with us. It is like a veggie lotto! Turnips, carrots, green onions, cabbage, lettuce, and beets all came this week and so now, I’m building meals around them.

The past few days have felt a bit heavy around here. A conglomeration of things have Joel and I working more than usual to choose joy daily and I have found that cooking at the end of the day is just as therapeutic as baking for me. I didn’t even realize this was the case until I sat dowimg_0342n a minute ago and realized I had been cooking since I got home hours ago. I made cheeseburger chowder for dinner (if you bring us velveeta, it will forever end up in this soup that tastes vaguely like a big mac) and then I thought it would be fun to roast some glorious beets. Once they were roasted, peeled, and chopped, I split them up and made two different cold beet salads (my love for beets runs deep). I thought about stopping there but there was still time left in the movie my kids were watching so I put together some chocolate coconut overnight oats for tomorrow morning. When I finally sat down, I realized my heart and mind had been so occupied on the task at hand, that I hadn’t thought a bit about all that had been weighing me down. Joy was easier to find and the grump was gone. I’m not sure that my dishwashing kids were as excited about all the dishes I’ve been dirtying but they seem to be enjoying the food so maybe it all ┬ábalances out.

I am so grateful to have something that could feel like a chore to some, be something that clears my head and creates space in my head and heart. I hope you have the same in your life. And if you don’t, keep looking for it! You just might be surprised at what you discover.