Today is a weird day, but then what day of late hasn't been? Woke up with a headache for the third day coupled with intense nausea (also a
semi-constant of late), bummed around reading/coffee/instagram etc,
and then, when finally about to begin eating, my legs started feeling
heavy, leaden, and simultaneously gelatinous, weak, spastic.
Image to the right is an accidental selfie from last week sitting in the late afternoon sun (properly distanced) from a few neighbors, laughing as I tried to capture their shenanigans, but looking at it now I see as equally pained and happy. Not sure what that means.
Thanks in advance for reading, and for forgiving typos, confusing grammar, and only partially in-focus phone photos.
I'm sitting here debating what to do about it (bath, tea, massage, laying down, more food, muscle relaxant, magnesium?) as the spasms and tremors work their ways through my whole body, and wonder how much is caused by me/my choices in external factors (too much sugar, not enough exercise?), and how much is the microscopic bugs who have staked out their (rent free!!) home in me.
Passover in most traditional cultural iterations is framed as a time of remembrance, loss, deprivation, starvation, oppression, and then finally, freedom. The starvation and deprivation aspects are most obviously represented in the dietary restrictions for the holiday -- no wheat (or barley, oats, spelt, or rye), no leavening, and lest we forget, the bread of affliction, matzah, a terrible unsalted sheet of cardboard cracker.
Below is what I popped into and pulled out of the oven during my family's zeder (zoom seder, so hot right now). Not the worst, but so, so, so far from the best. However cannot really call it bread of affliction in my case, using organic wheat flour and baking on silicone sheets...
I, as a lifelong vegetarian, cook, and lover of all things plant, recognize that I come at these eight days of eating from a different place than many, but want to suggest a reframing. Much as so many of us are recalculating and reorganizing and reassessing our work and social and generally entire lives in this moment, we can view it as a pause, a time for slowing, growing, sitting, and feeding ourselves what our bodies and brains are and have been craving.
Case in point: my improvised seder plate, using things I already had around the house, with the exception of nasturtiums and mustard greens, which I picked at the community garden down the street (and wine for the charoset, had to journey out into the wild world of west oakland corner stores for that one).
On my way home that day, I ran into some pascal lambs! Around the corner from my house!
And only noticed them when I started smelling/hearing them when I stopped to admire
If anyone knows anything about it, please inform.
A few weeks back (and for more than a month prior in preparation) one of my cousins organized an Ayurvedic cleanse that she shared with any interested. I did not participate fully by any measure, but followed along noticing where my own choices and habits aligned with and diverged from their wisdom and took it as time to pay closer attention to how and what I eat. I really appreciated the structure as a guide, a very easy way to slowly increase my knowledge in the area, and as a reminder of just how well my body knows itself when I listen. The emphasis of fresh, young greens and sprouts along with cooling spices and reduction or cessation of alcohol and caffeine all range very true to how I felt with the seasonal change, and while they all require a bit more willpower, a new normal sets in quite quickly (as you have likely learned).
Lots of flowers are edible, like these day-glo nasturtiums, which are sweet with a sharp peppery bite. *chef's kiss delicious*
This is all to say that I have eaten better in the last week than usual (and tonight plan to purchase my first meal out during the quarantine!!! to break the wheat fast), and though naturally that meant spending even more time in the kitchen than usual, I know y’all have that now.
My second seder plate/solo sushi extravaganza.
Cooking has long been a meditative and very personal act for me, and making foods that are so very nurturing and restorative, as well as sometimes foraged from your neighborhood (or yard if you should be so lucky), bring an added layer of comfort and care. When you spend so long with the ingredients, taking them from their most raw and natural state and turning them into something entirely other and enhance, in both flavor and nutrition, I think you take in more of the healing properties partly by showing care for yourself.
Though Passover is now officially over Spring has only just begun, and more than likely so have our quarantines. At the start of last week I began compiling loose recipes for what I ate under the title “Pesach Recipes Even Your Goy Will Enjoy,” and while I still stand by that, I would also like to consider them (mostly) pantry plant based takes on how to eat like a quarantine queen.
Use whatchya got, go forage (carefully) around your neighborhood, wash your produce thoroughly, and please play with your food.
The rest are some of what I’ve made in the last couple of weeks, hope they provide some inspiration!
I've also been climbing the steep learning curve of mask making -- going to donate most of what I've made so far but lemme know if you're in need.
Stay safe and eat your greens!
Just as many others, I juggle a number of activities daily. One of them is thinking, and so I've put together some of those thoughts here.