Running on Empty

When things are hard and life seems so unstable and I have run as fast as I can and have still not outrun my problems or my life, I go back to what works. I cook. I felt flat today, totally exhausted. I came back from a 10 day holiday in Amsterdam, Florence and then several days on Lake Como (yes, that is where the handsome George Clooney owns a home – I think he was elsewhere when I was there, maybe Venice?). The lake was incredible but the mountains that surrounded it are what called attention to it, are what made it special.

But I came home to chaos. I’m not good at traveling though I should be an expert having done it for business (and sometimes pleasure) for most of my life. It is still hard for me. I am a Taurus and like my home and what is familiar. This trip was not planned… it was a way to get away from the construction going on in my home. While I was gone the builders tore out the walls in my bedroom and the bathroom that used to hold the bathtub. These two rooms, for now, no longer exist. I came home from the airport at 10 last night to an inch of dust on the floor and walls of the entry and main hallway. Worse was the loss of my comfort, my bedroom and bathroom. My living room, kitchen and dining room are all as they were when I left them, sealed off as they were by layers of plastic sheeting and tape. But what good is a kitchen when there is no bedroom (for now)?

After spending the day cleaning up the dust so I can welcome a hen party here at the Nomad Chef for dinner tomorrow (hoping they will understand the wall of brick that was only a week ago covered with plaster and paint) and after traveling when I didn’t really feel like leaving my home in the month of the 3 year anniversary of the death of my son, the original Nomad Chef, I was running on empty.

And then I started planning the menu for the dinner. What can I cook for the starter? And what combination of cuisines do I feel like for tomorrow night’s mashup? Hmmm…. Mexican, Japanese, Singaporian and American (from the comfort food center of the southern states) feel right. I surfed cookbooks, my notes, and websites for the perfect recipes that would give me back my center. And within minutes I’d filled my tank. I was no longer running on fumes, deplete of energy by my struggle to juggle and handle and get through things – just the thought of food and the preparation of it had filled me right up. Thinking of food is almost as good as cooking it and eating it. I was off and running. Tonight I will sleep easier on my temporary bed, the couch, and tomorrow I’ll fill my tank by cooking and serving food that I love. I’ll offer that love up to a group of complete strangers. The challenges I have and the mountains I have to climb have somehow turned my half empty building site of a home into a calm clear lake next to which I can repose myself – the comfort of food.

I’m traveling again soon. There are only so many days one can go without a shower. But I’ll be home again soon and the Nomad Chef will be open for business (and for comfort). Come fill your tank on the 8th of October when our dinner menu will be inspired by my road trip diaries.

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