Since my little outage incident last week, I’ve resolved to step away from the screen more often -and make room for the things that are important to me. Many friends know that as well as being an arts maven, I’m also a foodie, and indeed, I have devoted several blogs to recipes and the joys of cooking -and eating. In all the years I’ve worked from home, I’ve come to regard proximity to my kitchen as something necessary to my regular work-a-day routine. Whenever I can’t seem to find the words or have a mental block around approaching or shaping a feature, I go down to my kitchen and make something. It helps to clarify, to calm, to soothe and to inspire.
I took a cooking day last week, purposely walking away from email checking and online activity for the sake of spending quality time around culinary texture, shape, temperature and taste. I made bread, I roasted a chicken; all felt right with the world. Making my own bread is one of the true, deep pleasures in life; the process of mixing, of kneading, of proofing, re-kneading, of seeing how the dough responds, a living thing, to pokes and prods and gentle massage, and then witnessing its eventual evolution from dusty, dissolute ingredients to pure, cohesive … thing… is miraculous. No wonder bread figures so prominently in some of the most important cultural stories -whether they be biblical, historical, or otherwise. The process, including the eating, is simply magical. My personal favourite of late is an oatmeal molasses bread, taken from the beautiful book From Earth To Table, by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. I interviewed them both recently for a feature, and found the same abiding love of food -but more than that, a respect for journey, process, discovery.
Going forwards in my freelance journalism journey has yielded so many discoveries, and continues to. I suppose the best I can do is be patient and allow those lessons to present themselves. Walking away from the computer to bake -and then coming back to share the fruits of my labours (and then going back again) -feels like a good process, and a kind of balance I can live with.