I love to cook….on a Friday night with good music, a glass of red wine, a clean kitchen, simple ingredients and a recipe I don’t need to scroll for. Oh and the kids are at Grandma’s.
Often my cooking reality is that something is burning while I’m looking for the missing tablespoon to dip into the empty container of cumin while one kid is tying yarn to the cupboard doors and another is washing their toy cat’s bowl in the sink.
This is not a peaceful place for me. And embarrassingly I don’t always handle my kitchen feelings very well.
Awhile back though, I started using a trick in the kitchen, to get me through my oil splattering/paper pile cursing/yogurt on the floor moments.
When something was going awry I started making myself stop. And take just one, slow breath.
Yes I know. Everyone has heard about breathing and mindfulness and blah blah. But hear me when I say, this trick works in my kitchen. There is something about one slow breath. The stubborn jar opens. The can opener comes un-jammed. The cutting board turns up. The cupboards are still tied shut but it stops bugging me.
I don’t know how or why this almost always works. I’m open to a lot of possibilities. But I think most probable is that when I stop and really breathe, I’m interrupting the stress response in my body. In slowing my breath, I’m slowing my heart rate. My shoulders relax and my jaw loosens. When my body comes out of fight or flight, my brain can work better at minuscule tasks, like operating a can opener or noticing the cutting board.
I am not in danger. I am in my kitchen. I can relax. Cumin is not a crisis.
I think we all have our kitchens. Maybe yours is that black office chair you sit down on to open your 37 emails at 7:02am. Maybe it’s the driver’s seat of your car listening to news radio when traffic is stopped. Maybe it’s the boss’s footsteps in the hallway or the sound of your dog’s toenails on the floor or the entire last week of every month.
Wherever your kitchen, try my trick. If it works for more people, I’d love to know. If it’s just me maybe it’s all in my head…or I need more sleep. Or a little more wine. 😉