I realize that as I’ve gotten older, reading a recipe is of little interest to me. In my younger years I collected cookbooks, read them and couldn’t wait to try the recipes. It was fun, and I now have quite the collection of books…displayed nicely on my book shelves. My Southern Living collection still has to be my favorite, even though it is quite out of date compared to the new cookbooks coming out now. My pies and cakes are all a variation of something from Southern Living, still the best tasting recipes around.
Now cooking is about how I feel, what my tastes are at that moment and what my body needs. It can also reflect what is in the fridge or pantry at the moment. How will it work together to make a great, nourishing, satisfying meal? Simple is the main ingredient. After a day at work, or just being out and about for the day, sometimes cooking is the last thing of interest. But, for me, it’s a better alternative to going out. So…simple, quick and delicious are my main focus. That seems to be what life is about for me now too. Just like cooking, life has gotten less complicated. I enjoy the small simple things, just taking in this moment. I realize that all of the prep for a meal, that I used to think was the only way, is just time consuming. As with decisions and plans in life. They don’t need to be prepared and contemplated over for hours. You’ll never get to the meal…the nourishment…the satisfying experiences of living.
I heard someone say that when roasting an onion, he puts it in the oven skin and all. Comes out the same and the skin peels right off without the hassle…and tears. I’ve found the same to be true with most of my vegetables that have a skin. Spaghetti and Butternut Squash are perfect examples. They go straight on the sheet pan, in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour and, once cooled enough to touch, cut open, discard the seed and you have an easy to work with ingredient. So simple.
The ingredients for life, just as simple. If we don’t explore and take the risk, we sit and do nothing. There is nothing complicated about that. Try a new food today, try a new adventure today. When I turned 60, I made a conscious effort to start doing things I’d never experienced before. That birthday I went paddle boarding. Living in Charleston, I saw it everywhere. Why had I not done that before? What fun I had been missing. That year I moved to a place I knew nothing about. The only things that were certain were that it was time for me to move and I needed a welcome change of scenery. The mountains were definitely a change from the beach. Not sure this is forever, but that will make itself clear when necessary. So simple.
Sixty one was brought in by a whitewater rafting adventure. Never tried it, but so much fun. The decision was easy. I’m in the mountains, so why wouldn’t I?! If we take notice of the great things around us, these adventures take shape on their own. Nothing complicated about it. Same with the wonderful foods around us. There are new things to try always. I never had Brussels Sprouts until I was 55 years old. Now it is a regular in my meal menus. And oh, so simple to prepare. This is one that you let cook itself, whether roasting, sauteing or even caramelizing. Not even completely necessary to cut, just put on or in a pan, a bit of seasoning, and let it go. Okra was the same for me. A late in life find, but easy to prepare in so many ways. And yes, it is one that can be cooked whole, without any preparation. Why wouldn’t you try it?! I have just discovered celeriac, or celery root. A sweet root vegetable from the celery family, but cultivated mostly for the root. Again, cook whole and work with it after cooked. Adds a celery like flavor to your meal, but a bit sweeter.
I’m not sure most culinary experts would agree with my methods of cooking. I don’t cook from a technical side, but from a savor the moment, and the food approach. Savor life’s moments the same. There are so many easy and flavorful foods to choose from, to explore. As there are so many wonderful and exciting adventures around us to explore. Take advantage of both. When we cook, it is so rewarding to enjoy the meal created. When we explore, the rewards are endless. It’s amazing how the simple things in life can be the most rewarding. What makes your life more simple? What changes have you noticed in your routine, or cooking habits? Have you tried a new food or adventure lately? Take care of you. Enjoy life, as well as a good meal…simply put!
Celeriac and Cauliflower Mash
1 Celeriac Root, peeled
1 Head of Cauliflower
1-2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
½ t Ginger, ground or fresh
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Place celeriac, cauliflower and garlic on roasting pan. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until tender. Rough chop celeriac and cauliflower and put in food processor, along with garlic. Add ginger, salt and pepper and process until completely blended. This is served in a Spaghetti Squash Bowl.
Until next time..
Embrace your age…it’s who you are!