I believe that it can be unhealthy to do just about anything without a break, even if its something productive or something that you love. Accordingly, I try to set aside times to purposely step back and rest from whatever activity I’ve been caught up in. For example, I have carved out one day a week (usually Saturday) where I do not study or do anything related to school, period. I do other types of work, certainly–errands, cleaning house, etc.–but school is off limits. I call these times “sabbaths” rather than just days off because it reminds me that rest serves an active purpose and isn’t just about the absence of work. The Lemonator have had a tradition for our entire marriage to go out to eat once every week. It isn’t necessarily fancy, but we find some place where we can sit down together and have a nice meal experience. I didn’t realize it until recently, but those meals out serve as a kind of cooking sabbath for me. I love cooking, but it can feel like drudgery if I never get a break. Even though the Lemonator cooks quite frequently, sometimes I just need a break from home cooked food to give my mind a rest from the never ending cycle of food planning. We’ve missed our meal out a couple of times recently, and I found myself yesterday feeling absolutely overwhelmed and unhappy at the thought of so much as assembling a sandwich for lunch. It was time for our meal out.
The Lemonator and I went to a local casual, farm-to-fork place. It was mediocre when it first opened, but it has been getting steadily better, so we decided to check back in. We both had wonderful meals. We both ordered the daily special lasagnas…I ordered veggie and he ordered lamb. They were both delicious and really opened my eyes to what a lasagna could taste like. Most lasagnas I’ve had have been pretty much drowning in cheese and sauce…that was all you could really taste. This lasagna wasn’t like that at all. It was layers and layers of grilled vegetables–zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, artichoke–between pesto-smeared squares of homemade pasta, with just the smallest touches of mozzarella and ricotta cheese. There was no tomato sauce to be had in mine…just a layer of sun dried tomatoes on top. It was still rich and comforting, but light enough that you could really taste how fresh the ingredients were. The Lemonator’s lasagna was full of ground lamb in a light tomato sauce, with a single layer of cheese at the very bottom.
I also ordered a side of wilted spinach with garlic and pine nuts…
And a grapefruit Fizzy Lizzy.
The Lemonator, for his part, ordered gourmet lemonade. He said it tasted great, but there was something missing. Anyone have a guess?
That’s right–lemon juice. This stuff contained “natural artesian spring water” but no actual juice. It tasted a lot like an upscale Sprite without bubbles.
For dessert, we split a chocolate chip cookie. These chocolate chip cookies are just the way I like them: buttery, flat and crispy with generous chunks of chocolate.
After this meal, I felt so much better and more refreshed. We had guests come over last night, and I really enjoyed cooking for them. Sometimes all it takes to get my inspiration back is to just take a break for a minute and give myself a chance to rest.
In other news, today is my First Blogiversary! I really can’t believe it. There will be cake and an appropriately celebratory post this evening. I hope you will join me!