cooking and meditation

one of the nicest thing i can recommend for when you’re feeling overwhelmed or unable to focus, is to grab a bunch of an herb, and pick the leaves or fronds off until you have pruned the entire bunch so they’re ready to cook with.

i did this yesterday with my coriander from the farmer’s market. i didn’t want to be doing it, i only needed a bit of it to top my taco. but i knew if i didn’t do it then, it’s not like i would want to do it later, so i persevered with the coriander. about half way through, i realized, as always, that i was settling in to this new practice of locating the base of the stem and pulling the herb off; a meditation of sorts.

cooking side note: i rinse my herbs in different ways, but it then feels satisfying to toss them in an extra cold (add ice cubes) bowl of water and let them soak. then pull them out, set them on a towel and let them dry. then, add them to a container with a small paper towel to help control moisture levels. from here, the herb lasts quite a while (typically weeks!). and you've completed a meditation practice.

this is also how i typically approach meditation, or exercise… the not wanting to start it, but once i have, getting into it and achieving a sort of “flow” state. it’s worth noticing. because all it takes to overcome an “obstacle,” is knowing that you have something good coming if you can only get through the first minutes of it. those are the few minutes where you’re still living in another mental state, your previous mental state. once you have achieved the “flow,” you will have enjoyed and accomplished a task! or perhaps even a feat! it is really those first few minutes of entering and changing thought patterns that can be the hardest to overcome, then it’s all smooth sailing from there.

and this is exactly how cooking can be for me. also, running, strength training, and various tasks at work. once i actually start on them, it’s nice to have the knowledge that even though i’m not enjoying it in THAT moment to start with, that within a few minutes, i’ll be in a new state of mind. and that i have control over that.

hope you have a great day and thanks for reading!

SF Ferry Building Farmer’s Market 10/5/19

Whew! I was headed to the SF Ferry Building Farmer’s Market from Oakland this morning around 8:45am, when a 3.9 magnitude earthquake hit. I was on BART at that moment, which is one of my worst fears realized. It was fine. The train stopped for 5+ minutes. The conductor informed us that all BART trains were stopped for routine checks post-earthquake. Makes sense. Once we started moving, he informed us that our train was the last train of all to start moving. He could have left that out and no one would have been the wiser, but I giggled in the face of his honesty. And from there, I knew there was nowhere for my day to go but UP. And up it went.

I arrived at the farmer’s market and hit Acme Bread for my beloved pain au chocolat and a random loaf called Sweet Loaf. I figured I would slice it, save some for toast in the freezer, and leave some out on the counter to use for croutons tomorrow.

Then I started out in search of persimmons, lettuce, pomegranates, and any other veggie or fruit that caught my eye. I found a stand with many many many types of lettuce, and I grabbed a head of radicchio, romaine, and one I’d never heard of before — Pomegranate Crunch. It essentially looks and tastes like Red Leaf lettuce, so, it’s basically that. But with a fancy name. I heard the woman working the stand comparing a type of lettuce to Big Little Lies, except something having to do with lettuce. When it was for me to hand her my cash money, I told her I had just finished watching the series. Then we began talking about Liane Moriarty and libraries and books, and the people in line behind me were not pleased. Onward to the next stand!

Once the lettuce was safe, I traveled to a stand with pomegranates and a zillion sorts of tomatoes (like, 10). I purchased a Carolina Gold tomato, because I’m from South Carolina, so duh. Then the man working the stand suggested I also try the Cherokee Purple, so duh. So I headed out with a few tomatoes and a pomegranate. Thanks, everyone.

The next stand was Dirty Girl Produce. One of my favorite vendors, and it did not disappoint. I grabbed some very large parsley and kale, which prompted a conversation with the man working the stand regarding kale and aphids. Because I hate aphids. My kale was free of aphids. Sweet!

I approached the next stand in need of a few more things. I found a lovely head of green cabbage, the biggest shallots I’ve ever seen, and lemon verbena, all of which I was very excited about. From there, I hit the flower stand. I bought a huge bouquet of cosmos (for $7!) and collard greens. I continued my search for a few remaining items: lemons, persimmons, dried fruit, and nuts.

Persimmons were found at one of the last stands I visited, and the man working informed me that his was the only stand with persimmons right now, and earlier I was told persimmons would be at more stands in a couple of weeks. I also found dried cherries, shelled pistachios, and lemons.

And with that, my arms were falling off, so I knew it was time to head back to Oakland. No earthquakes hit while I was on the train, and it would have been amazing just for that, but my canvas bags also smelled of fresh lemon verbena and flowers and everything felt right as I looked out over the container ships and beyond into the bay.

As I write this, I’ve now finished prepping everything, and I’m sipping on some fresh lemon verbena tisane. I will post the recipe in just a bit. Along with more recipes based on what I bought today at the farmer’s market! xoxo -k