the true meaning of soul food…good for the soul, right?

#ThinkKit Day 10: What habits did you start this year that you want to continue? What inspired you to get in a groove? Will you continue in 2014?

How many times have you come home after a long day and the last thing you want to think about is cooking something for dinner?  You open the fridge and think, what can I possibly find in here that’s worth eating.  A half-eaten chicken breast lies lonely on a shelf from the night before.   An opened bag of carrots that you know if you keep forgetting to eat, they will turn into orange slime in the dark corner of the veggie drawer.  Sometimes I think it was easier for my mom to cook for our family of six when I was growing up than it is for me to cook for one.  And the moment of aha comes over me which led to my best habit this year…cooking.

eggplant quinoaGrowing up my father was an amazing cook.  Each Sunday after church, he would sift through his massive collection of cookbooks and pick out something new to cook for the family for dinner.  Dishes and ideas came from China, Russia, Germany, Portugal, and many more.   I of course was his sous chef.  If there was something in the recipe that he didn’t have in the kitchen, he would make a substitution, play around with the recipe, and eventually create something new.  I marveled at how easy he made cooking look.  He made his own pasta, created his own sauces, and used ingredients at which my mother would roll her eyes.  Thankfully for all the years as his assistant, his love of cooking and his creativity in the kitchen rubbed off on me.

Because of my dad, I have always enjoyed cooking, but this year I made a concentrated effort to take it a step farther.  I tried as best as I could to shop local farmers markets and garden tomatoes grocers for ingredients.  I read up on nutrition, tried to learn more about GMO’s, and even built an organic little garden in my backyard. The garden was such a success that I plan on building a second box with a much better planting schedule and plan next year.  I have bored all my family and friends on social media with pictures of my food.  Yes, I became one of those people!   The fact is…I consider my food creations like I would a piece of art.  I would share a picture of a painting, so why not share my masterpiece of a meal? 

Inheriting my passion from my dad, there are moments when I feel him looking over my shoulder as I stray from the recipe and throw in something new.  His spirit lives with me in the kitchen.  He would absolutely love my Sautéed Mediterranean Quinoa!   Before my dad passed away, he compiled a collection of his recipes and published a cookbook.  When I want a dish from my childhood, I crack it open, maybe make a few changes and revel not only in the meal but the memories as well.   Isn’t this the true meaning of soul food?  Good for the soul, right?   



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