This morning, while my daughter took a rather long nap, I indulged one of my guilty pleasures: that is to say, I curled up on the couch and dreamily watched a few shows on the cooking channel. While pregnant with my daughter, I found particular comfort in watching reruns of Jamie Oliver’s and Nigella Lawson’s shows. Actually, I may have been a little bit obsessed. I walked to the library and returned home with an armful of books, everything from Nigella’s How to Eat to Jamie’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef. Despite coming from two different backgrounds — Jamie with professional cooking experience early on in life, and Nigella content with the title of home cook, the two cannot be more similar in their down to earth nature and absolute love for food. This morning in particular I happened to catch an episode of Nigella Bites that I have seen before, one on comfort foods. She pushed potatoes through a press while saying, as only she can, this is the kind of cooking that is not too strenuous, but deeply satisfying. She then went on to explain casually that in high doses, nutmeg is hallucinogenic, but in small quantities it induces a warm sense of wellbeing. Hilarious! You’d have to watch–hear her, see her–to know what I mean. Everything about the show is so naturally stylish and charming. She ladles clear broth and kneidlach from an ancient looking cauldron into these modern white ceramic bowls, curls up to a kitchen window seat and sips the soup with an old silver spoon with a wooden handle. She dips into the pantry at midnight for chocolate buttons and vanilla sugar. Later on, Nigella shares another witticism over some delicious golden hued risotto — something to the effect of, “in theory this serves two, but in practice, only one” as the camera pans to show a plate heaped with steaming, creamy risotto that she will apparently eat all on her own. Nigella’s unbridled love for food, and the simplicity and authenticity with which she prepares it, truly gives her shows that comforting feel. I feel the same way about Jamie Oliver, though really I rarely watch cooking shows anymore. At least in the early days, he made sure to incorporate his friends and community into every episode. Whether he went to the local Indian grocery, learned to make pasta with his friend Gennaro, or cooked for his pregnant sister, he always exuded a genuine excitement and love for entertaining, cooking, and for food in general.
Well, I must admit that while watching, I couldn’t help but resign myself to leaving such yummy recipes as an every now and then indulgence. Yes, I am resolved to shape up in the new year! Our family of three certainly eats a fair share of healthy food as it is, but I’m dreaming up something just a tad more serious for myself. I’m hoping that with more juicing, smoothies, salads, and healthy snacks like nuts or kale chips or homemade granola, I can finally lose the last few pounds of baby weight. I’m also resolved to exercise more–I have already started with walking over the past few months, but now, as reluctant as I may be, I have to start with more strength training and serious weight bearing exercises. I signed up for the 21 day yoga challenge on yogajournal.com, though I haven’t started yet. When I do, I’ll let you all know how getting back into that routine is working out. I’m also looking forward to some weekend hikes and gardening time with my husband and daughter.
How can I finish a post without saying a word about Christmas? I spent Christmas Eve with my husband’s beautiful family at his grandma’s house. There was lots of piano, singing, children playing, laughter, and warm food and sweets. Christmas morning was spent with my parents as we lingered exchanging gifts, perhaps the longest Christmas morning to date. In the early afternoon we then went to my sister’s house and spent the rest of the day with her family, three little ninja turtle boys and two baby girls (one our own daughter), as well as my cousin. My husband and I took a refreshing stroll that evening and soaked up the last of the Christmas lights until next year. We closed out the night watching some old black and white Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. We are truly fortunate.
Wishing you all of the excitement and opportunity that comes with the approaching new year — until the next time! — Goodnight.