Spoiler alert: Cooking is not my life’s work

I’m a therapist, not a chef.

What does this have to do with writing about cooking and coping with food allergies?


This means that despite writing about a great recipe once in a while, or a great success in the kitchen, food is not my life’s work.  Emotions, people, talking, offering support and challenge to my clients, and even looking at with curiosity at my own coping process – that is my life’s work.

As a result, there are a lot of days I wouldn’t even call cooking an especially enjoyable hobby, because I’ve already spent my energy elsewhere.

I enjoy cooking when I have time and energy – there is magic in the kitchen on those days – and it can be a wonderfully therapeutic endeavor, especially when the food around me feels dangerous and scary.

That being said, on the days when I’ve been away from home for many hours, and I put my coffee cup from the morning in the sink and trudge up the stairs to shed the stressors of the day, sometimes the last thing I want to do is cook from scratch.  I want to order Chinese food take-out, and sit on the couch in my sweatpants.  Of course, I can’t eat Chinese take-out for risk of food allergens, so pasta and leftover home-made pasta sauce will have to do on those days.

Am I a failure for sometimes choosing the easy way out? No.  I did a lot of good things during the day, and not having the energy for a from-scratch delicious meal does not make me a bad person, or even a bad blogger.  It just makes me a tired individual who spent her energy elsewhere that day.

The key, I think, is in setting aside the time and the energy in order to do the cooking the way I’d like to.  If I want a healthy meal on Wednesday, I’m going to have to prep some of the basics – or at least buy some healthy vegetables! – on Sunday.  And the other key is in setting realistic expectations.  Friday night after a full week of work is not going to be the night I aspire to attempt a new recipe.  I’m not a chef by day (sometimes not by night, either), and I’m okay with that.

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Filed under Cooking

Home projects for the crafty

I am often amazed and inspired by the home-making abilities of those around me.  My sister-in-law stopped by my house and in 2 minutes (with 2 children running around) managed to solve a storage problem that had been lingering for months.  (The answer: put the box of bocce balls behind the television!).  My boyfriend’s sister-in-law sent us Christmas gifts so beautiful we took pictures of the gift-wrapping before opening the gifts themselves.  My sister can whip up a batch of cookies in 20 minutes flat.  My parents can, with their powers combined, put together brunch for 30 of our closest relatives with 30 minutes notice.

I’m not there yet.  I’m the one with a box of bocce balls sitting by the back door because I don’t know where to put them.  I aspire to be able to whip up cookies in  20 minutes flat.  I may make my own tortillas, but “from scratch” doesn’t necessarily mean “easily from scratch” or “quickly from scratch.”  It’s more like “awkward and messily from scratch.”

As I attempt to grow from messy to graceful, I find inspiration in those around me, including other blogs.  Most recently, I’ve begun to enjoy Hallowed Be Thy Home (http://www.hallowedbethyhome.com/), written by the aforementioned gift-wrapper.   She shares her wisdom on wreath-making and other projects, as well as tips on green living that can be sustainable, healthy, and supportive of local endeavors.

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Filed under The Kitchen

Respecting food choices on Huffington Post

My latest blog for Huffington Post details my own progression from judgment to respect of others’ decisions about their food and dietary restrictions.

Read the whole piece here:


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Filed under Social issues, Uncategorized