Here I am today with some Polenta-crusted Pan-fried Lamb Chops, which is an awesome dinner idea.
I am a big fan of Dr Dan Siegel when it comes to child psychology. His book, Parenting from the Inside Out, was the first parenting book I read (before I got pregnant), and the foundation for everything else. He has a series of short videos online, and in one of them (you can watch it here), he describes the daily elements of a healthy mind for a child, which also apply to adults. Here they are in no particular order:
- Focus time
- Play time, experience novelty and fun
- Down time, calm/quiet, to recharge the mind
- Connection time (with others and the earth, with generosity and gratitude)
- Physical time, where we move our bodies
- Time in, or reflection time, where we reflect on our whole emotional state, on how we feel inside ourselves.
It struck me as I jotted down this list, how a few of those get chucked out the window or neglected in our adult lives. I have often found myself with a few minutes of down time, feeling like I should be doing something, as if that time was wasted (and as a result of this antsiness, it is in fact wasted. Instead of letting my mind recharge, I burden it further with guilt and anxiety.)
This balance, which thankfully I am able to nurture fairly successfully in Pablo’s life, has been harder to find for myself, but having this list written out in my office, and on the fridge, is a great reminder. I noticed some of these can happen simultaneously, such as connection time and down time, or play and physical time, or play and focus time.
Of course, being the food lover and blogger that I am, I couldn’t help but think of the many many opportunities the kitchen and the table give us to practice these on a daily basis (sleep aside 😉
Looking at a recipe, separating an egg yolk from the white, thickening a sauce, shelling peas… focus.
Kneading bread, making butter, planting and picking… physical.
Having a picnic, dipping a piece of bread in a soft boiled egg, making watermelon balls with a scooper, experimenting with new flavors… play.
Washing dishes, peeling carrots, chopping rosemary and garlic… brain recharge, and time in.
Sitting down for a meal with loved ones, eating outside with the smells and sounds of nature, cooking over a fire, talking about the food we eat, eat mindfully and slowly… connection, and time in.
I suppose you get my drift here: cook good food and have family meals. It’s good for the body. And it’s good for the brain too. 🙂
So about this meal I’m sharing here…
It starts with a morning of foraging (physical time, connection with nature) and learning to make wild mustard (more on that very soon!) and picking some sweet white clover (play time), which our foraging guide Pascal tells me will “rock my world” with sautéed potatoes. O how I love world-rocking food tips!
I stop at the store with Pablo and we bond with our favorite butcher Jamel who knows Pablo on a first name basis. Pablo chooses the orange cherry tomatoes he likes. We secretly taste an olive at the olive bar together. Love. Connection.
I get home and review my recipe. My mom starts the potatoes, I start the polenta. Connection, focus. Mix the flour, beat the egg. “This was a good day”, I think to myself. “I feel grounded, in the moment.” Quick time in. Dipping the chops, play; frying the chops, focus; photographing the chops, focus, play, physical given the odd contortions 😉 Pablo wants to take pictures too, and does a mini-puppet show while I take some shots, connection.
Sitting down in the backyard to eat a great meal together. Watching Pablo gnaw on the bone, freely dance around the backyard after the meal. Breathing. Connection. Down time. Recharge.
Writing this post at my laptop, thinking of how humanly rich, beautiful (and dare I say, cerebrally nutritious?) this day was, and how perfectly balanced, how I need more days like this, and less days of deadlines, exhaustion and stress. Time in.
Even when I struggle to post to this blog as often as I plan (which may just have to happen this week again as we’re going camping this weekend…), this space gives me this precious time which otherwise falls by the wayside in the face of busy life, time to reflect, to check in with myself. That those reflections should interest other souls such as yourselves, kind readers, is a gift I had never expected. Reading and perhaps at times, relating to my ramblings, hopefully gives you a little time in, too.
I always knew cooking, eating and food blogging were good for my body and soul. But if it’s good for my brain too then… I shall keep coming back.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this very balanced meal, in more ways than one.