Today I was guided to remember a forgotten joy in a whole new way. It happened quite by accident, which I now recognize is a lesson that I needed to know and most certainly must share.
Today was one of those rare Sundays when there was absolutely nothing on the calendar. Nowhere to go, no expectations and nothing needing to be urgently done. My husband and I talked about going out to breakfast, but when we stepped outside and saw what a comfortable, sunny and pleasant day it was, we immediately decided to stay home and enjoy our own patio. I prepared a delicious breakfast for us including eggs, toast, bacon, orange juice in frosty glasses and fresh berries from the farm market. I brewed Italian Roast coffee and filled cups with steaming milk for perfect latte. We munched and read the paper on our patio surrounded by beautiful containers of flowers. Absolute heaven! I was reminded that I love breakfast, the paper, my flowers and having time to just be. What a gift.
As the day continued and breakfast dishes were cleared away, I decided to begin reading a new book – purely for pleasure. I chose Julie and Julia by Julie Powel, the memoir about a young woman who decides to reclaim her life through cooking every one of Julia Child’s recipes in the classic Mastering The Art of French Cooking. It didn’t take long for me to fall into this book and to realize how it contains so many of the same lovely truths I help people come to know through individual coaching and leading groups with EFT and The Artist’s Way. The story is filled with examples of pain, persistence and passion. Just as I love coaching people to find what they love and fall in love with themselves, I also love reading about how others find their true north, just as Julie does in this true story.
As I came to about the middle of the book, I was suddenly overcome with the urge to cook — and cook I did! Realizing that I had a garden full of fresh herbs and a fridge loaded with goodies from the farmer’s market, there was no excuse.
First I decided to make a simple, yet very elegant potato salad. I made up my own recipe after reading a few cook books for ideas. My salad included fingerling potatos, calamata olives, sweet onions, celery, olive oil, wine vinegar, sea salt, fresh dill/parsley and ground pepper. It was beautiful and very tasty.
I was on a roll now. I decided to make fresh pesto next. I loosely referred to a recipe, then freed myself to throw a few things together – fresh garlic, basil, parsley, parmesian cheese, walnuts, olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Soon my little blender was full of the bright green concoction.
From there, I decided my husband George and I needed a snack, so I prepared some tiny pizzas with biscuit dough, fresh pesto, tomatos and cheese on my baking stone. They were perfect as I slipped back outside to continue reading. Today was like one huge Artist Date and I was loving every bit.
My book continued to hold my interest for the next several hours. Suddenly I had the urge to cook dinner. I discovered some plump shrimp in the freezer and made a marinade for grilled shrimp kabobs using my new pesto, fresh lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. As I heated up the grill, I put some sweet corn on, tossed up a green salad and brought out the chilled potato salad I made earlier. The shrimp sizzled up nicely on the grill and we enjoyed yet another amazing meal on the patio. I felt my joy meter go up another notch!
Perhaps this all seems a bit silly to you, but I realize as I write this that I have looked at cooking as an annoying chore these last few weeks. I had forgotten how great really fresh, deliberately prepared food can taste. I had not taken the time or made the effort. The book and the availability of open time creating a chance for me to revisit the joy I have for being in the kitchen and creating food that is delicious in every sense of the word. I only regret that I have no photos to share because it was as pretty as it was tasty, yet it was simple and healthy too. I celebrate that I have plenty of culinary experience, a pretty good sense to trust myself to create a recipe and have the gadgets and ingredients to pull it off too.
So here’s to Julie Powell and her ability to inspire me to come back to my true essence in the kitchen. Is there something you love and have stuffed away for “later”? Consider scheduling a day with a book about your forgotten love or even better, just do it. You may find yourself too in the process.