Kitchen Therapy

Given everything that is going on around here, I find myself in need of some serious distraction to keep from going straight loopy.

My friends have been wonderful by continuing to invite me out, fully knowing that I am going to turn them down 95% of the time. (Side note: this is the perfect way to be there for someone in this situation. The offer is there, no strings attached, no obligation or feeling like I'll be forced to talk, and every so often I'll actually take them up on it.)

I have also been editing like a madwoman to get my demo reels up to speed, a task which my pretty lil Mac has made positively pleasurable. There's no better way to get through a day than throwing your head into a project that requires total concentration.

But I have to say that my favorite distraction as of yet is cooking. I have never been much of a chef and my idea of preparing a meal generally involved a lot of boxes and powdered spices. Yum. (/sarc) However, over the past six months, I have become really interested in cooking and food in general (which, oddly enough, has coincided with me eating a lot less but a lot better, if that makes sense). (Not that I don't still inhale Spiral Diner's Philly Cheez Steak in less than five minutes. But that's a treat, really. Especially for those watching.)

It may sound silly, but much of my zeal for cooking can be attributed
to the Food Network. I used to think it was so weird to be watching show after show about cooking considering my specialties were mashed potatoes and mac 'n cheese (from a box, natch). But I've learned so much about ingredients and how simple it can be to make yummy, elegant, healthy meals. I'm giving Giada a run for her money these days!

(Today I whipped up a delicious pasta salad by cooking up some orzo al dente in vegetable stock, then mixing in oven roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic, organic basil, and herbed feta. I didn't even use a recipe! And yes, I mixed regions a bit, but it didn't bother me as I scarfed down a large helping of my multi-regional dish.)

Another benefit of cooking? I know exactly what is in my meal. I select my own ingredients, ensuring that they're vegetarian and organic (produce especially), and can control how much crap I'm asking my body to process. I can limit the salt/sodium, the fat, the calories, etc., which, believe it or not, does not mean that I'm sacrificing taste. The beauty of reading recipes and educating myself about food is learning to enjoy the process and savor the true flavors of what I'm preparing. Not to mention, I know that I am supporting a more environmentally-sound way of life in my culinary decisions, and that makes me feel wonderful.

Although I've always considered myself a lover of food, that meaning has changed drastically in the past six months. (As in it no longer means my idea of a "snack" is a plate full of cheese-drenched french fries with jalapenos, sour cream, and bacon. But you? Knock yourself out.) I can't wait to see what I discover and whip up next!

What is your favorite "therapy" during tough times?


  1. That looks delicious. I find that one of the things that really calms me down is organizing. For example, just sitting on iTunes and organizing my music is a really good distraction. Getting every minute detail for every song from year release to consolidating genres. It really takes my mind of everything else.

  2. Writing.

    Always writing.

  3. @Never Too Busy, That's a great one! I did that with iPhoto yesterday. Renaming, consolidating, deleting...very good distraction, indeed. I love organizing, too. Getting a filing system in place for paperwork and documents was my project last month. :)

    @Peter, Oh, for sure. My grammar is probably a little shady right now, but I'm still going to write. I don't think I'll ever shake the desire to do that.

  4. I enjoy making lists. When I feel like my brain is weighed down by emotional stress, it's calming to see my thoughts or items I need to do on paper in neat, orderly lines.

    And on the topic of cooking, I'm right there with ya. Upon the recent discovery of my many food allergies, I've learned to take delight in new recipes, organic shopping, and preparing my own meals.

  5. I'm guessing champagne is the wrong (and obvious) answer here.

    BUT, I love organizing and cleaning. It's brainless, but productive and I feel like I've accomplished something when I really can't control anything else.

    Hmmm....control. That may be the key word in this. Or champagne.

  6. I know some people will want to punch me, but mine is going to the gym. I used to allow myself to eat a pint of ice cream and get movie theatre popcorn (I'd just buy it and leave, without seeing the movie. I know.) but then I always felt even shittier afterwards. But if I'm pissed or distraught or anywhere in between, a good satisfying 2-hour workout is a miracle worker.

  7. Girl look at you. I can't cook very well, but I agree its quite therapeutic. Last night i cooked for the first time in months, (salmon croquettes) and I forgot how much fun it was!


    My favorite therapy is ice cream or a gin and tonic. hehe


  9. Cooking definitely makes me feel better. There's nothing better than starting and completing a task- especially when it ends in a delicious meal!

    That orzo looks awesome and I can't wait to try whipping up a batch myself.

  10. True story... I was stuck in a hotel room for most of a business trip a few years ago, and I mostly used the time to work, but I turned on the Food Network for company. All day long for four days straight. Same thing happened to me, it changed the way I cook. Have you tried crumbled goat cheese instead of feta? It's the best thing in the world, mmm...