Fear no food

I turned a corner in my kitchen and in my heart tonight with regard to food, and the medium of my healing was a bowl of soup.

Here’s how it happened.

I was craving a simple potato for dinner and I happen to have a bag of Yukon Golds on hand for Thanksgiving. I was going to just boil one up and mash it with a pat of butter, but then I thought I’d make some kind of gravy to go over the top instead.

Since I recently made a super-easy and tasty cream of chicken soup, I thought that would be perfect. All you do is melt a couple of tablespoons of butter, add a spoonful of flour, cook until golden, then slowly stir in a cup of 1 part milk or half-and-half and 3 parts chicken broth and keep stirring until it is smooth and thickened. So easy!

But then I decided my soup needed a little more texture and body, so I finely chopped one small portobello mushroom and a small wedge of sweet onion, sautéed them in a spoonful of butter, and added a splash of Marsala wine to finish them off. Meanwhile, I cut up one medium-sized potato into chunks and boiled it until it was soft, then mashed it roughly with a fork.

Put all that together, season with sage, thyme and Krazy Salt, and it was one of the best soups I have ever tasted: richly flavored and incredibly satisfying. Next time, I might puree the potato with a bit of chicken stock before adding so it’s smooth, or maybe run the entire batch through the blender before serving, but I liked the slightly chunky texture of it tonight. Even better, it still added up to only 9 WW points per serving (it made about two one-cup servings), which was well within my daily limit—and I still have another delicious bowl to look forward to for lunch tomorrow.

Food and cooking are great metaphors for so many things, self-care being merely one of the more obvious. How we nourish ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually determines the state of our health.

So the corner I have turned here is thinking that really great food has to be complicated or difficult, or that it requires me to follow a recipe written by a pro, or that I can’t make something delicious and nourishing just out of my own imagination. I feel like a “real” cook tonight for the first time in my life, even though I’ve been cooking for myself for years and years. In turn, I feel liberated to do what I want to do, to make what I want to make, and to be who I am, both in my kitchen and in my own life.

cooking-with-abandon

That’s kind of a big deal. Never underestimate the power of soup!

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