I’ve talked quite a bit about what foods and projects I’ve been growing and making here at home, but not so much about my “why,” or how it’s affected me along the way.
Looking back, I’ve had a lot more fun than I thought I would at first. Previously, cooking and meal prep were relegated to “if I have time” or “as needed” items, tasks I only participated in when I had the brain power to do so.
In essence, they fell more often than not to the bottom of the to-do list.
We all live busy lives, and I’m no exception. It’s hard enough to deal with the daily grind, and then to have to come home and work some more? Bleh.
Yes, as adults we have to do dishes, run the laundry, and take out the trash. A friend of mine recently asked how I found the time to do all of this baking and cheesemaking and Aerogarden-ing despite working fifty hours each week and maintaining my home.
In all honesty? The projects bring me a sense of peace, of control, of satisfaction in a world where we really don’t have any of the above these days.
When my mind is churning with stress and anxiety over current issues, including with potential stressors looming on the horizon, it gives me comfort to know that I can come home and work on something that will sustain both myself and others.
Usually, I schedule at least two days a week for food preparation of some stripe. While I cook, I’m also completing chores around the apartment that just need to get done. Knowing that I can’t go to sleep or zone out in Mass Effect Legendary Edition while the oven is active or I have something bubbling on the stove gives me both a sense of calm urgency and a small wisp of energy.
One routine example: it takes me two hours to make cheese using the recipe I’ve been perfecting. However, only thirty minutes of that involves actively paying attention to the milk on the stove. As the resulting cheese drains through cloth, I can complete other tasks like the dishes and a load of laundry, or use the collecting whey to make fresh bread.
Another example: I have something going in the Instant Pot for thirty minutes, really forty if you include the time it takes to come to pressure. Maybe I need to stay close by in case something starts to burn, so I pull up a chair and prune the Aerogardens because I’ve been putting it off for a couple of weeks (oops).
To put it another way, the food prep has proven analogous to scheduling time to go to the gym. That particular chore is not something I need — my current jobs have hefty physical demands — but making time open and available to get things done holds me to a form of accountability. Writing for the blog had worked similarly — make the time, and then sit down and do the thing.
In essence, Seeking Continual Flavor and the associated projects have offered me a new creative outlet with built-in accountability. It forces me to really think about what I’m doing that day, or that week, instead of always flying by the seat of my pants. Instead of defaulting to junk food and other less-healthy choices, I’m much more conscious of what I have made, or what I can make as an alternative to the store-bought varieties that have less filler and preservatives.
(That’s not to say I don’t still chow down on a handful of chocolate chips or stop at Popeyes on the way home once in a while. A girl has needs, after all.)
Further, I’ve become somewhat more accepting of my failures and also more constructively critical of them. Oh, sure, I still get frustrated for a bit, but I’m better able to take a breath and think, “okay, what went wrong?” and keep on going.
The wine side of things, especially the Challenge, has rekindled my admiration and passion for the subject in a new way. When I recently attended a local distributor’s tasting event, I found that my palate was better able to detect nuances at a glance than two years ago, while in the midst of my WSET Level 3 studies. The regular practice is definitely something I want to continue in the future, time and wallet permitting.
While I’m not sure what the future holds for me or for this blog resource, I hope to continue offering ideas, suggestions, and flavors that everyone can enjoy.
Onward and upward, as they say — I have meals to make and wine to sample, veggies to grow and mushrooms to culture.
Thanks for being here, and here’s to another five months!