I have a confession to make. For almost two years, I have been burnt out.
That is why this blog has been unpopulated or atleast infrequently populated. I think for a long time, I did not want anyone to know. Then a conversation with an old blogger friend, Meeta, made me realize that I have to truly acknowledge and accept this disengagement, if I really wanted to move on. This was not about a passing malaise but a deep shaking of some core beliefs.
You see, at some level, many food bloggers believe that the work we do and information and ideas we share has a greater cause. That of creating a better world - a more inspired one, a more engaged (atleast to food) one, a kinder one and a more understanding. We all think if we can create enough inspirations for home made food, then more people will embrace the idea of cooking.
For me, it was deeper than that. I really believed that "Cooking" was not just a necessary life skill, but also the singularity of the future. That this one thing, if learnt and done well, would uncreate the havoc we have wrecked in the environment, that this would be the unifying force of bringing people together, so on.
"not feel guilty
simple access to healthier cooked food
spend time on MORE important priorities"
Ah! But the bane of simple solutions is that the theory and practice rarely converge and stay that way. In a way, I was its own negative sample. I really do not enjoy cooking everyday. There I said it! Cooking for me has always been about self-expression and NOT survival. Sure, I can whip up something to feed myself but my joy in it comes from creating something different, new, very me. Conversely, for the most part, I find everyday cooking an absolute chore and often an inefficiency, especially when I have to step away from something else to cook myself some lunch. Those mid-day breaks are fairly disruptive.
For long, I hid that feeling with shame. I mean after all, I am in the business, on this platform, of telling the world, cooking everyday is - for body, soul and mind. While, even I did not buy into it.... I wanted to, but really as a primary right brained person and someone who prefers using the mind more than hands, working with food was more enjoyable as a hobby rather than a function.
Then, last year, I realized, to my chagrin and my salvation that I was not alone. My research into eating behavior took me around the world, where for the most part from NYC to San Francisco to Shanghai to Kyoto to London, I heard pretty much the same thing -
"Sure, I would like to cook more.
But I have more important priorities!
And, hey, if only we could get access to healthier food, without having to trouble myself into making it, life would be so great!
I mean, I can go on pursuing what I really want to spend time and not feel guilty...."
The truth of it hit me. I love this blog and the whole food world not because I want to cook everyday but I want to take pleasure in the activity when I do so. It is my enjoyment. When it is mandated of me, it becomes a chore and I resent it. I, the creator of this blog, the one who still believes if we all cooked more, life will be better for everyone.
And, that is the truth of human behavior. As a sociologist friend of mine pointed out "Asha, humans have ALWAYS tried to make the process of gathering food, cooking and feeding more and more efficient. Because we want to something else, even if it is just lie around". I guess, if you ask anyone who you think loved to feed people, they will say that they definitely would love it if someone else did the cooking and took care of them atleast some times. :)
Earlier, this year, actually as late as March, I finally accepted all this and myself. No, I am not the person, who wants to cook everyday. I am not the person who will therefore post here or on social on a dependable frequency. I am not the person who is going to be on the cutting edge of trends of food or social sharing. I still have zero interest in doing any videos even though I know that is where the trend is.
Yet, I am the person, who will enjoy the time I choose to spend in the kitchen. I am the person, who will henceforth acknowledge I don't feel like cooking and ask for help or order in. I am the person, who will have frozen food at home, so I can get to eat something quick.
I am the person who will continue to share with you, what I am enjoying, what I am inspired by and what makes my palate sing....
And, I hope you will accept this me and support my creations as you have for 10 years!!
Green Quinoa Spring Salad
There is honestly nothing fancy about it. It is really a bunch of fresh and mildly cooked stuff that work well together. I used tofu here but you can easily sub that with pre-cooked chicken or ham chunks.
For each person:
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup firm tofu or other white meat, in half inch chunks
1/4 cup fresh cucumber diced to half inch pieces
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp sumac
parsley to finish
salt, pepper, lime juice, olive oil as needed
In a pan, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil, till soft. Season with salt and upper and stir in the sumac.
Add the tofu/protein in and gently sauté for a few minutes.
Toss all the ingredients together and drizzle with olive oil and lime juice to taste.