Niagara Gazette

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December 9, 2012

Cookbook author and blogger writes of her very own kitchen angel

Cookbook author and blogger writes of her very own kitchen angel

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Unfortunately, as I got older, I lost the ability to see angels, and I also stopped believing in their existence. I spent many years trying to fit in and be “normal” and as a result, I lost the openness that allowed me to see the angel in the first place.

However, the one thing that has remained constant throughout my entire life is my love of food. I wonder now if the angel eating in the park was somehow a harbinger of what was to come. When I was 18 years old, I began catering my mom’s summer workshops and retreats and have been doing so ever since. There’s quite a bit of thought, skill, and even luck that go into providing healthy and delicious multi-course meals, three times a day, to a large number of people. Over the years, I’ve weathered a few mishaps in the kitchen, but mostly I’ve been extremely lucky. To explain my good fortune and seeming dumb luck, a few years ago, half-jokingly, I started to say that I had a kitchen angel guiding me.

At first, it seemed just like one of those things you say, but then I remembered the angel I’d seen as a child. I realized that I did, indeed, have a kitchen angel.

My angel guides my hand and gently nudges me toward the correct amount of seasonings, the best cooking temperatures and the most delicious flavor combinations. I’ve discovered that he seems to be most present when I’m cooking for groups, as though he knows that whatever happens when I’m cooking at home will be OK, but I really need his divine guidance when I have large numbers of people counting on me to provide them with sustenance.

A few months ago I had an experience that cemented my belief in my Kitchen Angel. The menu I’d planned for that evening was extremely ambitious, a five-course authentic Vietnamese meal for 25 people with only two hours to do it. Perhaps a bit crazy, but I was just so excited and inspired by the sweet, salty, and fresh flavors of Southeast Asia that I wanted to share as many dishes as possible with the guests at our retreat. With only 30 minutes until the group would be arriving for dinner, I was still washing rice, peeling winter squash for a curry, and grating vegetables for a salad. Generally, I work better and feel more inspired when my workspace is tidy, but the kitchen was a mess. There were piles of food and stacks of dishes everywhere. As the heat began to rise in the kitchen, and I was beginning to feel increasingly frazzled, I remembered my kitchen angel. Although I’d never done this before, I decided to consciously ask for his help. Within minutes of requesting assistance and expressing gratitude for all the other times he’d quietly aided me, the most remarkable thing happened.

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