I’ve noticed I have a new habit. After traveling and witnessing all the foods that I either a) can’t eat or b) can eat but with a very high level of stress, I return home and get the itch to cook. I go to the grocery store full of ideas and pick up ingredients for this, for that, and oh I could use this to make a new batch of that!
I return home and proceed to enter a cooking frenzy. After a summer full of wedding celebrations and nearly half the weekends spent away, I have just been waiting to have more than a minute at home so that I could start mixing, baking and cooking.
I stocked up, and I made balsamic cheddar quinoa with fall apples, I made twice-baked potatoes, and I made bacon. I made pasta sauce and filled four mason jars. I filled up the fridge.
No room for even a salad, the Tupperware overwhelmed the shelf space. Anyone else looking inside might have balked, incredulous at the Tupperware that had multiplied on the fridge shelves overnight. I, on the other hand, smiled. I had made it, I had filled the fridge, and I would eat it. With maybe a little bit of help from “A”. I turned from the open fridge door back to the cookbook under my elbows, dreams of home-made empanadas floating through my head.
Two days later, the weekend struck and I made maple-bacon biscuits to use the rest of the bacon. I made quiche. I went to the store and bought the ingredients for my vegetarian lasagna. I made pickles. The fridge was stocked, the freezer was filling up, and my stomach was happy. I can always rest a little easier knowing I have some “safe” emergency meals in the freezer. Most people might keep a frozen pizza or ready-to-microwave meal. I keep leftover veggie lasagna, home-made meatballs and personal tangy barbeque sauce.
I’ve done this several times now, entering a bit of a cooking frenzy in the days after travel. I think I like to overcompensate for all the foods I missed and couldn’t eat while away. I respond to the billboards on the highway in defiance, saying, “Fine, I can’t eat this now, but I can darn well make it – and make it better – when I get home.” I get home, and I not only need to fill my fridge and my stomach, but the hole in my food-heart that grew in the time I spent away.