May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children. (Maria Rainer Rilke, The Book of Monastic Life)
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about stress and life lately, much of which I’ve shared with you on Instagram, but I haven’t talked much about my passion. So here's my confession: I'm crazy passionate about food and nutrition. Food as medicine. The creativity that goes into cooking. Food that nourishes body and soul. Cooking is what I have always done to relax or recenter, from maniacally making four batches of muffins in one day the week my family moved out west to recognizing that I need some alone time and making cookies in my tiny kitchen totally meets that need. Food is a huge part of my life, not only because I need it to live, but also because it's been a huge tool in Cody's health journey (and even in my own). And beyond that, I love the bond created when people share a meal together. Memories are created around a dinner table. Food isn’t just food, it’s something that brings people together.
When Cody flew to Mexico to win my heart, he brought me a loaf of bread, a salami, and some sharp cheddar. It was our first meal together, and we shared it on a bus going from Mexico City to Puebla. The plowman’s lunch has become our favorite quick meal when we travel, and every time I break a crusty piece of bread or taste the cheddar's bite on my tongue, I’m back in that bus, my heart fluttering and hands shaking, next to the man I would fall in love with a few days later.
So why, I’m sure you are now asking, haven't I ever talked about food? In the spirit of vulnerability, and wanting you to see my life for what it is, I've been a bit burned out. Not only have I been re-learning how to cook in the past couple of years as we went from healthy eating to gluten free to grain free to whatever it is we do now. With our food restrictions and new sensitivities developing from time to time, I have to be on my toes and hyper vigilant all the time. It can be draining even for the most passionate of cooks. Even learning to cook well and healthily in the RV has been a process. And honestly, sometimes I wish we could eat like everyone else. With all the great places we get to visit, I find myself wanting to try pizza and donuts and pasta and beer and things that everyone else is recommending to us. I get tired of thinking about cooking almost every meal. It’s hard to realize that sometimes even your passion can make you feel burned out when you’re not approaching it with the right attitude or from the right angle, or when it’s so ingrained into your life that mundanity squashes the spark.
So I took a step back. Although I plodded forward with healthy cooking and nutrition reading (my passion for helping other people on the path to wellness has never wavered), I focused on other things, like thinking about stress and being patient with transitioning into life on the road. I was waiting for the magic to come back, because I knew it would if I just let things be. As Rilke wrote so many years ago, I want what I do to flow from me like a river, no forcing, no holding back, and I knew if I forced it, it wouldn't come.
Then, one day in Portland, we went to Powell's City of Books. They trapped me good and early, since the food section is right near the entrance and I swear they knew I've always been a sucker for a cookbook (it totally counts as good reading material). I spent a good hour wandering those aisles, reading titles, thumbing through chapters, soaking up the wonder of food again. I remembered there was a book by one of my favorite food bloggers that I had been wanting to read (which they conveniently happened to have), and under the spell of Powell's, I bought it (even though I've been under strict orders to not bring any more books into the RV...oops). And just like that, reading someone else's life with food tucked in between stories, the magic came back. I remembered what I have loved for so long and why.
Since this journey is about pursuing our passions, I'd like to share mine with you from time to time. Not just the food, but the story that goes with it.