Cooking in Nature
On at gloomy, rainy Saturday morning not long ago, I was sitting in the German countryside, where there isn’t much but trees and birds and fields and deer. And fireplaces. And freshly brewed coffee. As well as a CD selection of Bach’s cello sonatas. And a well equipped kitchen for me to bake in and cook in and make a batch of breakfast pancakes!
The house we’re staying in is cosy, there are rustic chairs and pieces of comfortable furniture everywhere, candles distributed on every counter that has space and the walls are heavy from all the paintings and photographs hanging from them. I got much better at lighting the fireplace so that the sound and smell of crackling wood were omnipresent.
In these moments I notice that I am a baker.. and a writer. I seem to enjoy nothing more than cooking up recipes and writing about them. Writing about how they came up, where the ingredients are from, the way people smile when I feed them that tahini brownie for the very first time and then the second time around.
The food I’m cooking here? Everything. Walnut banana bread, nutty buckwheat granola, cinnamon muffins, bulgur salad with roasted vegetables and caramelised onions and tahini dressing, roasted vegetable tartes, sweet potato kumpir with chickpeas, guacamole and pickled onion, cumin & olive focaccia with hummus, sunflower seed chocolate cookies, date & chocolate fudge squares, coconut pancakes with raspberry chia jam and almond butter caramel, miso roasted pumpkin with cilantro and pomegranate and more things but the list would be too long!
Cooking and baking in nature is very grounding. I kneaded the dough while occasionally looking out of the window and seeing the grass move in the wind. I roasted hazelnuts and rubbed them between my hands to remove their skin and listened to that papery sound while some bird was singing in the forest. This is meditation.
In these moments of silence and peace, where there is no internet access to distract us from this current present moment, is when so many ideas and clear visions come in! Only one night of good, deep, sound sleep in a cold room but underneath a warm blanket was needed to regain perspective and allow inspiration to pay me a visit.
Have you been to nature recently and felt this way?
Recently, a friend asked me what I imagine my life to be like in 5 years. He asked “in 5 years’ time, what do you see when you wake up?”. I responded: “I wake up, can hear the birds sing, then I go to the window, open it wide and look into a deep green forest. The sky is bright, the floors are slightly creaking and I am excited to spend my day going to the market, baking and cooking for the community I live in.” (Of courses there was also a dog somewhere in this, one with whom I go to that magnificent forest in front of my house to smell the moist moss and pick a few berries or mushrooms. Only the edible ones, duh!)
This is the life I want to live. I shall keep you posted.