Cooking as Therapy
I’ll be honest with you. Over the last month or so, I’ve been suffering from a major episode from my depression and anxiety. I have had panic attacks the likes of which I have never felt before, and it was only in the last week I’ve really been able to identify them as exactly that. It is a struggle that never feels like it ends, but in the middle of it all, I have two things: my husband’s support and my food.
To me, cooking is its own therapy. You hear a lot of people say this to the point it is almost cliche, but what’s better than the smell of fresh bread, a batch of cookies, or your favorite meal? It’s no pill of anti-depressant medication, but it has an effect on me I really can’t deny. Working through my favorite recipes makes me feel like I am in control of something when the world is difficult to understand and navigate.
It doesn’t matter how hot it is outside, I will make a stew or a soup to help lift my mood. I’ll do whatever I have to in order to get my head in the right space, but that has been a struggle lately even with food. It’s time to cook again, and really cook. I cannot let this thing drag me down, so today we begin a joint therapy session, if you’ll allow me.
Every week for the month of August, I will be bringing new life to a tried and true recipe in my life as I attempt to bring some new life to myself. I will share these recipes with you, both the originals and my adaptations, and I invite you to try them both at one point. This isn’t the time of year for clam chowder, but that’s where we’ll start. It’s a stew near and dear to me now that I live in the Chesapeake Bay area especially.
I don’t have a set schedule yet, but I’ll figure it out as we go. I intend to revisit meals or items that get a lot of use in my kitchen even if I don’t have an original recipe to them from an online source or cookbook. Do you have any ideas that you’d like to see?
I’m sick as it seems a lot of people in the food industry are, but we have one thing in common beyond that: our love of food. Love is what keeps us going, be it for a person or a practice. So let’s focus on that over the next month as I try to right my path going forward.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported this adventure of mine so far. It means a lot to know that this passion of mine is shared and in no way misplaced. I also want to thank you for your understanding, as this illness is something I’ve discussed before. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of greats both in and out of the kitchen lose their battles. It’s a different battle for everyone who fights it, and I will not lose mine.
Has food ever been therapy for you during a difficult time? What recipes do you turn to when you need something to lift you up?
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An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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