Mid-Summer and Still Dragging Heels

July 7, 2019

Usually, summer is my favorite time of year to cook. I get deliriously hungry just walking through the grocery store: plump, juicy cherries beckon. Ears of sweet corn whisper from the farmstand…eat me. Tomatoes–the ultimate winter bummer–are now worth eating. Berries taste like heaven and my garden is busting with fragrant plumes of basil, Thai basil, rosemary, mint, chives. High summer is the zenith of the good stuff. This is the time when I dog-ear a million recipes I cannot wait to try.

Usually.

This summer, I barely want to cook at all and even firing up the engine to head to the grocery store or farmer’s market seems like an impossible chore.

I hate it.

I hate my unmotivated, slack-arse attitude and this lingering cloud over my head and heart but. But.

I have to sit with it.

I know I do.

If I don’t sit with it, I just hide it and lie about it and avoid it until all the blood is sucked out.

 

It sucks feeling like roadkill in full summer.

This is how grim things are over here; last week, I had amazingly plush, misshapen Heirloom tomatoes and I could not even muster up the appetite to make myself The Perfect Tomato Sandwich. Not even with bacon. Not even with a ripe avocado and some butter lettuce. I almost called the paramedics because clearly, I am jacked up. This girl never, ever turns down a summer tomato sandwich. Especially when a good friend sends you some bootleg Duke’s mayonnaise, which is the only mayonnaise worth eating.

 

I am going to do better. I have to. Because if I let a summer go by without having any appetite for the things I wait all dang year for, what will I do in the winter? Squandering gifts is criminal. Even I, at my sulkiest, know that.

So today I hauled my older daughter–back from the Louisiana bayou (!!!) to Whole Foods and we spent over an hour in there. We talked about what we want to eat this week (lots of salads, after rich New Orleans food; ripe and sugary watermelon; portabello mushrooms grilled with buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto). We poked and prodded and sniffed the produce. We spent too much money, but we always do. The fact that she’s been away for several weeks and wanting to get back to the freshest, healthiest, home-cooked food makes me feel a little less grim. She’s my adventurous and curious eater, and she’s back. And she’s hungry.

She ate Indian aloo gobi (a cauliflower and potato curry) while she was away and loved it. She asked if I could re-create it and yes, I can. She also fell in love with Vietnamese food (can I get a howl and a YASSS) and I told her we could make that, too. If I get my mojo back. Maybe even half-mojo.

For now, it’s enough to assemble a caprese salad with farmstand tomatoes, basil from the garden, tart balsamic vinegar and lots of creamy, local cheese. It’s enough to scarf it down with our favorite Kalamata boule from WF and sop up the juices with every little crumb.

That simple lunch, eaten next to someone I love, made me feel better. I ate with an appetite I haven’t had in months. It felt good to be hungry. I know that a tomato sandwich-loving person is still inside me somewhere, even if she’s needed to hide for a while. Not everything in there’s dead and dry and husk-like.

For now, it’s enough.

 

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen July 8, 2019 at 1:24 pm

I’m proud of you for sitting with it but also pushing forward. My mental health has been in shambles and I think it’s a hard line to walk – sitting with it and avoiding the facade but also maintaining forward motion. I think doing the some of the things that ordinarily bring joy can sometimes remind your brain that joy and pleasure still exist. So happy whenever I’ve seen you posted a. Ew entry. XO

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Dana Talusani July 9, 2019 at 10:33 am

Jen,

I have been dying to call you but don’t want to be a bother or a drain on any progress you are making towards any SEMBLANCE of being okay because if you are like me, it’s minute by minute, little by little, sometimes crouching in a corner. I hope you know that. But I would love to hear your voice soon.

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elizabeth July 9, 2019 at 8:59 am

Hurrah for adventurous eating adventures! I totally understand having zero cooking motivation–especially at this time of year when it should be easy due to the sheer abundance of produce–and how the guilt of having that feeling in the first place just seems to compound the problem. (I definitely felt anxious figuring out a shopping list last weekend because no recipe in any cookbook I opened was speaking to me and I HATED it.) If you don’t have it already, I would check out Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan if you want some good inspiration–the photography is beautiful, the recipes solid, and I’ve learned so much about the cuisine as a whole from it.

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Dana Talusani July 9, 2019 at 10:35 am

Elizabeth–YES! I hate the feeling of doing the work (eg:looking for inspiration) and coming up empty. It stinks. The only things keeping the gears running are dreams of Barcelona.

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