Life at this time is enough to toss anyone into a depressive state but I really don’t have any reason to whine compared to so many others. Recently I’ve have to mentally visualize pulling myself up by the collar and kicking my own ass to get myself moving. I had hoped with the election in the past, spring on the way, and family vaccinations almost complete I would feel much more optimistic. My only motivation these days is the Sunday dinner prep for the family. The first few months I would cook, pack it all up and dump it in their car trunks; as it warmed we could be outside (there are 7 of us). Come winter I bought extra fans, opened the doors, we masked and kept our distances. We are still being CDC compliant.
Having experienced a long bout of depression in the past and being unable to take medication (other than my nightly beers) I practiced all sorts of suggestions; yoga (still do), mindful meditation, and the like. The one self-help tip that tickled me was to find something I enjoyed (or used to); how do you do that when you don’t like anything? But I kept that thought in mind.
One day it dawned on me that the one consistent thing I did that gave me a bit of a thrill was collecting recipes; I wrote in a previous post about digitizing my life after my cancer adventure. It comforts me to know ALL of our photos, pictures, music, documents and more are safely residing in clouds and on portable drives. You never know what or where you’ll end up. My thought is if I’m disabled I want to be able to explore, travel or reminisce electronically. I am still able to do most of what I want i.e. cook, bake, garden, exercise and clamber up and down the stairs but I have various and sundry (love that redundant phrase) medical issues lurking in my mental background that help to lower the happy meter needle.
Back to the recipes…I began with my old legal-sized data binder full of recipe clippings from magazines, potlucks and copies from cookbooks. Many I could look up online, especially as so many are now considered vintage; I copy, paste and edit them (copyright rules observed) in MSWord and then off they go into the cloud. If I can’t find them online I re-type them. A few, like my mom’s handwritten favorites, I scanned. I currently have over 13K but some are cross-referenced, hence duplicates.
To this day I find at least 3 – 4 a week to add to my collection but I do come across more and more in my magazines that are being recycled lol. So I also hoard herbs, spices, food and kitchen tools.
I start planning next Sunday’s meal early in the week, it helps me to look forward to the coming days and even though my two freezers/fridges are full as well as the two pantries full of dry goods, I get to go and buy more. This shopping almost daily habit I think comes from the time we lived next door to my mother; my daughter was very young, I wasn’t working at the time and we would go off to the Pig or Publix most afternoons and browse around for this or that; I remember buying 21 green beans at a time because we had no money.
I pull up a recipe and clip it to my Google calendar along with the link so I have a timetable that includes the week’s meals for Mr. Scott and I. I just retired mid-pandemic, I was really just taking up space in the department anyway since I nominated my protégé to became my boss (a happy ending to my tenure). People ask how I managed a 52 year marriage – I worked full-time for starters. Luckily Mr. Scott still works a couple of days a week so I get a respite as the closeness is mentally difficult for me. It’s not the relationship, I just need my alone time. For as long as I can remember I’ve been in a position of providing in both my career and personal life. We do spend a lot of time on different floors of the house as I’m not able to sit for long and he doesn’t care to be active for long (personal choices).
When I have the heebie jeebies, source not always known but often related to finance or health, or my very adventurous grown children, or my car-loving husband, or my doom-scrolling habit, I go to the food.
I do bake the bread, luckily I had enough stock when the pandemic began as I hoard flours as well (but use them up in good time baking for family). I’m not enough of a purist to grind my own grains, I do appreciate being able to use King Arthur flours. I also work with sourdough; I only feed it once a week and the discard goes into my favorite pizza dough recipe (makes great waffles as well). Also, sourdough bread justifies using one of my four cast iron pots. So much for my hoarding issues at least they have some value. It’s already a new month.