I’m ashamed to say that 6 years ago I kept track of my statistics, metrics showing me that I had a small but loyal readership and sometimes close to 200 unique visitors a day. In the past three years, I have all but lost readership, all but lost what writing skill I had developed.
What has happened in three years is subtle but still enormous. I don’t plan my moments around kitchen projects and ferments. Instead, I look forward to glorious Friday nights when I feel like I have a luxurious hour to put dinner on the table, not a slap dash 20 minutes. A weekend to return, even if just barely, to the person I was, to repair and restore as quickly as possible before Monday morning bounds up on me and the whole wild works begin again…
I moved a month ago, swapping a home I was very grateful for but still never really chose for an older model with rough grace and tons of potential. I moved to a place I carefully considered and decided upon myself and I moved within my neighborhood, meaning I still know everyone around me. I have to say I wasn’t anticipating the rush of emotions I have felt, the pangs of curiosities over my decision making. Did I do the right thing? What was I thinking?
Life as a single person is different on so many levels. Not only is there no other adult to talk the days over with, there’s no other adult to reassure that you made a good decision- or at least didn’t make a bad one. I’m beyond thankful for the reassurance my stellar set of parents have offered freely, and also for their hard work in helping me transform a new home into my home. I had no idea just how stressful that would be.
In the past two months, I’ve eaten out or piece catched meals more than I have ever remembered doing in my whole adult life. Since I was 20 years old, I have gone home from work and cooked myself supper, and not having a space to do that was far more unsettling that I imagined it would be. Any free time was packed or unpacked, and only just this past week do I feel like I’ve fallen back into a rhythm of the housework, the simple pleasure that home cookery provides, the sheer joy I garner from washing dishes and tidying up.
New house, new habits I suppose as well, as I have a smaller fridge and have pared down my condiments addiction - and I force us all to eat every last stitch of leftover food before embarking on the making of more. That’s actually a very good feeling, less overall waste and better stewardship over the time I do have to prepare the food.
I find myself searching out even simpler recipes and I am consistently amazed at the satisfying results. For instance, bread-snobbery was pushed aside when I just was too frazzled to make yeasted flatbread the other day and King Arthur Flour came to my rescue with this very capable approximation of naan! We all liked it so much we made it twice already this week, and if you were here for dinner I wouldn’t have even apologized that it wasn’t “slow food”.
The brilliance in quick food, easy food is a happy rediscovery for me, one I appreciate all the more after too many meals out. It’s also an excellent revelation as we head into the high season for Wisconsin produce.
Where I have gone in the past three years are places I couldn’t have dreamed up, and I have the feeling in my gut that the same unpredictable future will go before me. I’m certainly not looking at my metrics, reading food sites, and making pies all day, or even contemplating what I’ll make for lunch.
Food is happening in a new space and with new rules, I walk back and forth to work on a path that’s growing ever more wild. I’m still falling back on tacos on those days when I don’t know what to make, but they’re new tacos in a new light. There’s a new learning curve to get the tortillas right. There’s the reminder to have patience for this new season.