We are in trying times right now, no doubt about that.
I know I’m not alone when I wish 2020 would just please go away. I have been tested enough. Two big trips canceled, worrying about my kids at college, worrying about my own health, dreading the colder months, it feels too much sometimes.
How do we find a sense of consistency in a world of uncertainty? The one place I go to find peace and serenity is my kitchen. Like it or not, food is the one undeniable truth in our lives, and we need to be connected to it, every single day. We need food for energy, for our health, to keep us alive and sometimes to try and fix a bad day. It all starts with the kitchen. We need to eat, and we need to eat well.
I understand the pressure of feeding the masses and the question of “what’s for dinner?” Cooking can, at times, feel like the chore that will never go away. We could fight against it, or we can choose to get into flow with our kitchens and embrace it. After years of feeding five hungry humans every single day, I had to get right back at it when my kids all came home during the lockdown. Right when I had gotten used to having my empty nest, it all went away. Five people, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, occasional dessert. A lot of food being generated out of my kitchen.
A lot of women I know see food as the enemy. Food is to be feared. Food is not looked on as energizing and healthy but all calories and regret. Diet minded thinking dominates many of us these days, with its black and white beliefs, rules and restrictions. There is no flow in your kitchen when what your cooking is all confusion and fear.
When you begin to see food as a friend, not an enemy, when enjoyment is the goal, magic happens. Preparing a meal begins to feel like an activity you actually enjoy. Turn the TV off, put on some music while you chop the carrots, cry over the onions and mince the garlic for the warm pot of soup that is about to simmer on the stove.
Kitchen flow doesn’t happen on its own. It takes care and upkeep. Read below for five key steps to take right now to get back the flow in your kitchen.
Five Ways to Get Your Kitchen In Flow
Do a Pantry Rehab. If you were like many women during lockdown, you went and scored a cabinet full of dried beans, flour, dried pastas and other canned goods, all with the best of intentions. I get it, I did the same. The other day I pulled everything out of my pantry cabinets, reevaluated and made a list so I would be sure to use these ingredients before they went bad. On my list is quinoa, dried chickpeas, soba noodles, farro, brown rice and canned tomatoes. Cleaning out, in turn, helps me generate some new ideas for dinners to add to my meal plan.
Restock Your Pantry. Next, I checked on my oils, vinegars, spices, herbs and other condiments. For the fall I will stock up on darker, fruitier vinegars such as balsamic, extra virgin olive oil and replenishing my most used spices.
Buy The Right Equipment. A good, sharp kitchen knife, solid wood cutting board and a few high quality pots and pans will instantly up your game in the kitchen. I look at these things as my kitchen assistants, ready to help me. You might spend a little money on the front end but good brands should last you years.
Try Some New Recipes. The transition between summer and fall can feel particularly hard, especially this year. Fall means less cooking outside, less quick grilled recipes and salads. But this is also a delicious time. Slow cooked soups are the name of the game right now, along with warming spices and herbs. I will be making my Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew this weekend, as well as my Whole Grain Pumpkin Crumb Muffins. I can’t wait to slow down and make take in the smells and flavors of these two dishes in my kitchen.
Eat Seasonally. Nothing says flow in your kitchen like being in harmony with the seasons. Seasonal eating tastes better, is fresher, not to mention more economical. Right now, fall is offering us deep orange winter squashes, pumpkins, apples, pears, hearty greens such as arugula and endive. I’m thinking warm salads, pestos, and more soups on the menu. Gather inspiration from these ingredients to help you plan meals and get reinspired in your kitchen.
Going into the darker, colder months, we will need a place that we can rely on to rest and restore ourselves. Make it your kitchen. Clean it out, dress it up and rely on it for your health this season.
Ready to find your flow in the kitchen? Join my Fall Cooking Club this October 1st for three weeks. We will cook with the seasons and learn how food can healing for body, mind and soul. Click HERE for more information and to sign up.