Applying my salve

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Like most people, I lose myself sometimes. I get so caught up in the emotion around me I forget the things I should be focused on. Nothing brings me back to myself like cooking. I find great solace in my kitchen. The world around me disappears and my existence is renewed by the smell of a combination of ingredients that transport me to a place I had professedly forgotten.

Life has a funny way of throwing countless distractions in our direction and it is up to us to tune out those interruptions and concentrate on the things we value most. Family and friends are always at the top of my list and cooking has consistently been the thread that weaves together all of the important people in my life.

My fondest childhood memories are richly steeped in the images of our family kitchen and my love of cooking was absorbed through osmosis. Whether it was my mother methodically following a recipe, my father taking every ingredient from our refrigerator to see what he could randomly create or my brother making delicious crepes from scratch, cooking has always been the one thing that holds a piece of each of them close to my heart.

Last night I got home from work and knew the only place I yearned to be was in front of my stove. Nothing else mattered. As much as I wanted to tackle the “to-do” items on my list or write the next five hundred words in my novel, cooking was the only avenue that would afford me the true escape I needed. The onions were chopped, the bacon was rendered and my house began to, once again, smell like my home.

In a collection of minutes, the chili was simmering on the stove and the cheesy beef tortellini was set to cook in my crockpot. All was right in my world and the chaos of the universe outside of my existence had been laid to rest for the evening. Cooking is the salve that heals my wounds. Whether it is a simple salad dressing, a comforting stew, a tasty casserole or a perfectly cooked sous vide piece of beef, cooking will always have enough positive energy to undo anything negative in my life.

 

 

 

 

Let the hibernation commence

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Winter has officially arrived, maybe not in terms of the winter solstice, but the white stuff looks like it is here to stay.  And with the first sighting of snowflakes my gut reaction is to forage for and store food. Although my foraging consists of pushing a cart up and down the aisles of the grocery store I still tune into the barbaric voice in my head that urges me to gather my supplies for the upcoming onslaught of nasty weather and get ready to hibernate.

Taking full advantage of my opposable thumbs, I turn that cart full of goodies into homemade soups, chili and stews so I can be self-sufficient during those times when the roads are closed, the snowflakes won’t stop falling and venturing out in the open world is ill-advised.  The picture below is my actual house during a two-day barrage of snow last winter.

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Animals hibernate out of necessity for survival.  Humans hibernate because it’s cold outside.  Having lived all of my legal driving life in a rural community I am well-versed at driving in treacherous conditions.  Given the choice between practicing my defensive driving skills or laying on the couch with a steaming bowl of homemade soup, I’ll take the soup any day.

My freezer is now stocked with Cauliflower, Pear and Aged Cheddar soup, Broccoli and Stilton soup, Cream of Mushroom soup, Corn and Bacon Chowder with Shrimp and Chili that has been made with bacon and some dark chocolate.  (judge if you will, but it’s delicious).  There may be a few more additions to the soup list if I feel creative any time soon but, for now, I’m ready for you Old Man Winter.