My day job is really busy right now, with lots of last minute twists and turns on a project that was due over two weeks ago. I want to retreat to the kitchen and the simplicity of chopping carrots but my bothered and distracted mind follows me right in. I stand over the open refrigerator and stare at the chicken that really should be cooked this weekend and the dark tuscan kale that is starting to wither and fade. But I can't seem to pull it together enough to figure out even the most basic, simplest of kitchen tasks. Finding the focus to roast a chicken eludes me, and the wilted kale only makes me sad.
In these times I turn to easy, instant food which in my kitchen is crackers and cheese, with maybe a few slices of sausage. An apple with peanut butter. Toast. With my mind and energies focused elsewhere, not much more seems possible for me.
The freezer is also provides, especially if I was vigilant in my more productive times and managed to stash a few yogurt containers filled with tomato sauce, or stew, or even stock for a quick chicken noodle soup made with store-bought rotisserie chicken and a handful of orzo pasta.
My favorite mind-caught-up-elsewhere meal is a little leftover brown rice sautéed with a quickly chopped green onion, some frozen peas tossed in towards the end and a fried egg over the top. Simple, nutritious and deeply nourishing.
It's tempting to reach for the nearest frozen pizza or take-out at times like this, but I've found that to the extent that it is possible, good, wholesome homemade food is far more supportive, spiritually and physically, then anything pinged in the microwave. Even in the middle of stress and distraction, it is important to take care of my body and provide for myself. The very act of doing this unwinds the tension a little and neatens up my edges.
What do you cook when you're distracted and can't be bothered?
(Image: Dana Velden)