Cut, mix, burn, repeat. Am I providing recipe instructions for a novice cook or am I talking about hands? I am talking about hands, Dear Readers. The first four words of my post are what happens to my hands on any given day. I accidentally cut them, do not realize or notice I cut them until I use them to add or mix something in or to a recipe (oh, I love that don't you?! The moment you realize you have a cut, somewhere on your hands the exact moment you begin to squeeze lemon? Yep.) Then I burn them somewhere and although I know I should run the burn under cold water, I usually just ignore the burn and carry on with whatever I am doing. I enter my kitchen and walk into "my world." I enter my kitchen and walk into "my place" where I feel most at home. I enter my kitchen and engage in hand to hand combat against my body's desire to not cooperate and my passion to create.
What do I mean by hand to hand combat? Stiffness, soreness and pure stubborn determination to create food for those I love drives me to cut, mix, burn and repeat. The sweet, pure need to follow my passion to create, transcends discomfort and pain. My love for family and friends drives me forward. The satisfaction of winning a hand to hand combat over pain, makes me feel powerful and strong. Anyone with a passion for something knows what I am talking about. But how do I work around again pain? How do I still have fun while I negotiate with my body to follow my mind's will? I cook smart.
I have posted about being a smart cook before. I do not waste time, energy or space when I cook. I gather up my ingredients and equipment and always keep my space clean and tidy. I sort the ingredients by the type of movements required to prepare them efficiently. In other words, if chopping is required, all the ingredients requiring "chopping" get done at the same time. If seasoning is required, all that is done at the same time. I also think about how I will use a piece of equipment. For instance, a cutting board. I use the board to prepare the "clean" ingredients first; such as, vegetables and then I use it to prepare "dirty" ingredients like raw meat. This way, one board for all the jobs. Then, I leave the prepared raw meat where it is, on the cutting board, and season it, over (or even in) the sink to reduce mess and clean up. The raw meat goes into my heated pan directly from the board. I clean as I go. I use one knife, one board, one pan/pot. See? Easy peasy.
Those of us facing pain in our bodies want to continue to do the activities that are our passion as long as we can. That passion my be cooking, sewing, hiking, woodworking, whatever. Besides cooking "smart" I try to keep myself in decent shape and eat right. I know, I know. (Take a moment to roll your eyes before you continue reading...) BUT, it's good, sound advice. Why? Because, Dear Readers, YOU matter and are worth the time and effort required to keep your body healthy! That's why. Your passion gives you joy and fills a need in your soul or it would not be a passion. Passions drive us and keep us happy. Keeping happy, keeps us whole.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor