A previous post discussed a strange loss of my cooking mojo. For about two months I have been completely distracted with a new job, and the quality of my cooking and writing has suffered a great deal. The job itself has had a rather steep learning curve and it turns out that marketing is not my forte. I suppose I knew that really. I’m not much for sales and really, I hate being marketed to myself, so it really isn’t a shock.
What became completely clear is that a fair portion of my headspace was taken up with the stress and frustration over the fact that I can’t seem to produce text or ideas that fit what is required of me. This headspace normally belonged to thinking about what to cook, developing culinary techniques, finding inspiration, and general curiosity about what it means to live simply. For two months, this anxiety has weighed on me. It paralysed me.
But something snapped on Friday. The fog cleared. I had my inadequacies confirmed and for some reason, it took the pressure off. I woke up Saturday morning happier than I have been for months. I felt peaceful. I have been reading Elizabeth David’s An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, which is a marvel in itself, but suddenly it was being read with fresh eyes. Ideas and curiosity began to pour forth. I took a whole sea bass out of the freezer and began to think what to do with it with excitement. With total clarity, I adapted a Skye Gyngell recipe for seabass fillets to suit a whole fish, and served it with her braised fennel and beurre blanc. For the first time in months, I made a meal which I was proud of.
Perhaps now that the pressure has lifted, I can turn my attention back to my writing and my cooking. I can still try as best as I can to learn and produce decent marketing material, and I will. As a writer, however, the pressure I placed on it is cannot be as important as producing valuable work of my own. It is this I need to nurture and save from undue stress. And with that, I return to Mrs David, with a hot cup of tea on this cold Sunday morning, to regroup and refresh and remind myself how to simply live.