Cooking Day

Being in Asia means being introduced to countless new kinds of foods and flavor combinations. Just today for lunch at a restaurant in town, we feasted on Thai food: laab gai, tom kha gai, som tam, phad thai. If you know Thai food, those names should make your mouth water. And although I love trying these new foods, I won't lie: I miss my bread.

So a couple times a month, I make all the foods we can't buy here. Unfortunately, there's no Farm to Market Bread Company here, like in our beloved KC. And the Western groceries available in town are extremely limited - although at times you can randomly find items like tabasco sauce, jalapeno Pringle chips, and pate. But tomato sauce? Bread? Outta luck.

Earlier this week, I set aside an afternoon and tackled a list of foods that had been sitting on my Pinterest boards (yes, I use Pinterest, even in Cambodia - seriously, how did anyone make anything before Pinterest?!?). I also have a binder full of recipes that my mother made for my 21st birthday, full of old family recipes.

For me, cooking is also a stress reliever. For the most part, cooking is extremely reliable: you follow a set recipe, and you get expected results. Delicious results - food that reminds me of home, that reaches down into a deep part of my psyche that longs for the familiar. 

Mixing up muffins

It's also a love language for me, I think - making food. On an early date, I made Andrew chicken piccata - still his most requested meal - and he still tells me how much it impressed him at the time. I bake cakes every month for the office staff's birthday parties, and I make more brownies than I need so I can send some home with friends. 

Cranberry Walnut Muffins from Erin Nish Blog - note that these are highly unsustainable muffins to make, as both the cranberries and the walnuts were bought in bulk at Costco during our last home leave and transported to Cambodia via the airlines.

We are also fortunate to have a deep freezer on hand, borrowed from an absent family on furlough. And that means extra food gets saved for later. (seriously, I don't know how I'm not a mom yet - what childless professional raves about freezer cooking?!)

English Muffin Bread from Foodie with Family Blog

So why do I cook? I cook because I have to eat to survive. I cook to share with others.  I cook because eating a mound of cookies makes me very, very happy. I cook to remind myself that we can still make good things, even when we can't fix relationships or solve a crisis or heal deep heart wounds. But maybe, in offering someone else sustenance, that will be the bridge that allows us to cross into our lives and be an instrument in the hands of the Healer.

Garbanzo Bean Blondies from the Natos Blog- no flour, all chickpeas, chocolate and almonds. Shocked? Well just try it - just another reason to love chickpeas.