I spent much of this afternoon buying, preparing, cooking, putting together, and baking ingredients in order to create two quiches for tomorrow’s Easter brunch at my church. I enjoyed every minute of this process and now have two beautiful quiches dotted with bright green asparagus, rusty red sundried tomatoes, and translucent onions. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! I’ve truly made peace with my kitchen.
You see, not all that long ago (maybe 5 or 6 years) I was afraid of my kitchen. It was the location of many binges, often brought on by a craving for a sweet treat. The craving for sweets was usually triggered by an emotion of some sort (boredom was the biggest trigger) and I’d tell myself that I could have the treat as long as I baked it myself (fewer preservatives and more wholesome ingredients). My intentions were good, but I would soon find myself eating spoons full of sugar, licking the beaters, eating raw cookie dough, eating two, three, four cookies hot out of the oven until I was sick of looking at cookies and disgusted with myself. It was only a few years into my recovery that I learned I was eating in response to an emotional need and no amount of sugar would satisfy that kind of need.
Once I learned that baking was a trigger for me, I stopped baking. I felt uneasy in the kitchen and it was a struggle to even make my own meals because I thought I might slip and overeat at any minute. Then I started learning about mindfulness and the idea of living more in the moment. I started cooking dinners in my kitchen again, trying to pay attention to the process…the journey from whole ingredients, to chopped up morsels, to cooked food, to a plated meal. I tried to savor each bite when I sat down to eat it and noticed that I was beginning to enjoy eating again. The more I did this, the safer and more at peace I felt in my kitchen. I was eventually able to start baking again, though I didn’t feel truly comfortable with that until about two years ago.
I say all of this just to assure my readers that although it may seem like you’re at war with food or your kitchen or the pantry or the refrigerator, the possibility for peace does exist. Pay attention to the look, smell, feel, sound, and taste of your food as you buy, prepare, and cook them. Immerse yourself in the experience, in the journey from raw ingredient to meal or treat. Do this by yourself for a while and then invite others to share in the experience with you and make it a social event. You can make peace with your kitchen!
Peace, joy, and health,