24 Jan

Weekend offerings: 

1. A marvelous sourdough loaf with loads of encouragement and everything bagel seasoning suggestions from @clockedoutandcookin on Instagram. Original recipe from the foodbod blog. I had made a few loaves of sourdough earlier in the summer, and at the time I thought it was a really tedious, stupid, shitty process and that maybe it just wasn’t for me. But something finally clicked yesterday as I was folding the dough for the umpteenth time, and I realized that every time I approached the bowl, I was actually looking forward to working with it, to gathering portions and pulling it up and over itself, with feeling the texture gradually change from shaggy and sticky to bouncy and bubbly. That was an unexpected revelation. Isn’t it great when you realize you’re not too stuck in your ways to change your mind about something?

2. Ostropel de Oltenia, a tasty stew of chicken and polenta dumplings in tomato sauce, the recipe for which can be found in Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu (who also has a blog with some amazing looking recipes on it!)

We were a frozen pizza and Hamburger Helper household mosts night while I was growing up, and we definitely never had any type of formal Sunday dinner, so as an adult, I guess I get a kick out of doing something a little fancy on Sunday nights. And while I suppose it could be argued that stew isn’t exactly haute cuisine, it sure beats Digiorno’s.

 3. And lastly, chocolate chip cookies made with a hefty dollop of sourdough starter discard. Although this made for some really freaking incredible raw cookie dough, it resulted in very… fluffy cookies. Which, if this is your thing, then you might really enjoy these lil puffers. But I don’t love cookies and I especially don’t love cakey cookies, so eh. Not a fan of this version. They can’t all be winners!

From the time I was old enough to have a job, I have always worked weekends. As a teenager, starting out as bottom-bun girl and working my way up to cashier at Checkers (yes, that was my first job!); working both as a staffing manager AND a weekend caregiver for a home-care company in my twenties; working two jobs for nearly a decade in my thirties, full time in an office during the day, and part-time in a health food shop in evenings and on weekends. When I moved back to FL, my weekends were *almost* free there for a few months, but I quickly realized my elderly grandparents were not doing so well, and so my Saturdays and Sundays again became consumed doing all of the things for them that I did not have time to do during the workweek. All the while, every second, every breath in between, writing, writing, and writing some more. Scribbling for various venues, and for my own blog, which I’ve had in various incarnations for the past twenty years. And though I enjoy writing (mostly, ha!) this too, is work.

All of this is on my mind today. Someone recently remarked to me, in an off-hand yet weirdly skeptical-bordering-on-suspicious sort of way, “why would you spend all weekend cooking? That’s so much WORK.!” No, friends. I know work. And I have spent a great many weekends working. Most weekends of my adult life! But, for me, cooking is never, ever work*. Days spent hovering over simmering soups and yeasty bubbling bread dough, chopping, mixing stirring, sprinkling, concocting something delicious and heart-warming and filled with love, these are sacred acts of the most joyful magic. This is time well spent –best spent!–  and I cannot think of a better way to spend my Sunday.

*I sometimes feel a little weird and not…self-conscious, exactly….but I begin feeling some kind of strange, shy, sheepish way when I share my excitement about how much I love cooking. I understand that not everyone enjoys cooking, or even gives a fig about it. I personally know some of these people (and I might even be related to them.) And I worry I might be coming across as self-congratulatory, like LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM AT THIS THING THAT YOU CAN’T DO/DON’T LIKE TO DO. And that’s not my intent! But I guess I am always worried, all the time, about inadvertently making someone feel lesser-than. And so I downplay or diminish or sometimes completely secret away the things that I love or find important or…that I’m good at. And that really sucks.

But it is okay that I like something you don’t, that I do something you don’t! There are plenty of things that other people like to do that I can’t be bothered with in the slightest. There are all kinds of people in the world obsessing about all kinds of stuff, and the way I feel passionate about making soup is maybe how someone else feels super jazzed about whittling spoons or hula hooping or playing the accordion. And what a wonderful world it is, full of all of us, enthusiastically just doing our things. And anyway, people who like to cook have got to have people to cook for, so I think it all works out.

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