Despite the fact that this was the year I attended culinary school and began to really immerse myself in all things food including a new career, this holiday season I barely lifted a finger in a kitchen. Early on, I decided I wouldn't overdo it in with cooking or eating, and by golly, I managed to emerge this Monday morning, January 3rd, relatively unscathed by the traditionally sharp teeth of the holiday cooking and eating demons. This Christmas I did something different. I went to the Bahamas to the ultra-relaxing and affordable Sivananda Yoga Ashram and spent the week with my mom and about 100 strangers, now friends... For a week we meditated, practiced asanas, and ate two vegetarian meals each day. We also splashed around like dolphins in crystal clear Caribbean waters, walked and talked on dusty white beaches, and soaked up lots of sun. I have at least 30 new freckles on my face. It was glorious. And there was not an egg nog, spiral-cut ham, fruit cake or bowl of M&Ms in sight. One morning, I asked the ashram cooks if I could help out one day in the kitchen, thinking I might learn the secret to their outrageously delicious home-made granola or multi-grain bread baked fresh every morning, instead I got to wash 26 (yes I counted) very well-used loaf pans. That was my contribution, and it felt great, pruned fingers and all. Having meals prepared for me day after day, no matter what I might think of the quality of the food, or the tastiness (that's a different post), felt like a very precious gift. I have found in my experiences at other retreat centers like this one, that the food is always prepared with such love and intention, and thus the food really does carry with it a vibration, a kind of health and vibrancy that often escapes our daily fare. So as I enter the New Year, I am briefly reflecting back to some of the meals that were prepared for me in 2004 that carried a similar energy.
- Amy's Schvitz Stew the February night my hands were burned in a fire
- Mary's Daffodil cake made for my birthday in June
- Raoul's Scalloped Potatoes on a hot night in July at the barn
- The Chefs of Lotus Camp's Salmon the last night of Burning Man in September
- Denise's Kale Soup at her birthday dinner in October
- John & Jasie's Indoor Grill and Zinfandel spectacular in December