Truth, Lies, and Food: Confessions of a Cookbook Author

My diet took a nosedive during the year of writing and recipe testing for The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook. Oh, I’d love to say I walked my talk that year, but the truth of it, my friends, illuminated the lesson that follows.

Confession:

I ate a good deal of burritos and dark chocolate bars while writing a cookbook extolling the health benefits of India’s ancient healing system, Ayurveda. I believed because I was writing a book (!) I was too busy to cook, which is exactly the attitude this book seeks to dispel by displaying the simplicity and beauty of natural, homemade food.

I watched plates of freshly cooked vegetables, grains, and legumes be accosted by tweezers while bright cilantro leaves wilted on the styling table nearby. Later, I watched our photographer, Cara Brostrom’s toddler enjoy some of the recipes that had so recently been objectified, accosted, and beautified through the lens. Evelyn’s little hands squished and squeezed the foods into yet another state, chased them around the highchair tray, finally eating them. In the moment, I was confused, having seen my dear and sacred friend Food, go through such indignity, only to arrive at such a contented ending. At the very end of this day, Food became the building blocks for a sincere little body.

Food, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth.”

Busy, according to the same, means “having a great deal to do.”

Why is it now, these two concepts are at such odds for many of us? Do I have so much to do that I cannot focus, a little bit each day, on maintaining life and growth?

When the crumbs settled, a few months after releasing the manuscript to Shambhala Publications, I was left with the following:

Busy is a state of mind.

There will always be more to do- how I react to that reality is my choice between happiness and stress.

Food maintains Life.

How I approach the act of eating links daily duties with a spiritual connection to Life. Ayurveda, the science of Life, teaches that the act of digesting food connects the human to the cosmos. Take the planetary elements that made up the carrot and make them a part of me! What a great thing to add to my to-do list.

Writing this cookbook has pushed me through the gauntlet of busy-ness and deep into the heart of my love for Food. I choose to enter the kitchen with reverence and joy, free to relish the time spent with my dear Food. The hobby, the necessity, of cooking is something I hope this book may bring to readers. And readers, take heart, when you find yourself at the burrito joint, I was there once, too.

Um, more than once.