Last week when I wrote my first “Recovery Kitchen” post and declared my intention to make this Cool as a Cucumber Salad, I knew I was setting myself up for a challenge. But somewhere along the line I managed to develop a somewhat cavalier attitude toward the whole thing. Cucumber salad, how hard could it be? The only thing I’ll really have to do is chop some vegetables!
It’s that cavalier attitude that brought me all the way to today, nearly a week since I stated my intention to cook, without cooking at all. What this meant was that essentially, I’d backed myself into a corner, and created a situation where in order to make good on my declaration, I had to make this salad tonight. Throughout the past week I’d had a variety of food-related mishaps take place that had all resulted in heightened anxiety and no small amount of frustration (both me being frustrated with myself and the situation, and my fiancÃ© being a bit frustrated with me, which is understandable. It’s taxing to be dealing with someone’s weird behaviors all the time). As you can imagine, I wasn’t too terribly excited about the thought of confronting my fear of being in the kitchen.
I spent all day thinking about cucumbers. What if my fiancÃ© forgot to buy them at the store? (Secretly, I sort of hoped this would happen, because then I’d be off the hook!) What if I just completely freaked out and couldn’t do the salad at all? How silly would I look not being able to put together a simple recipe after writing a whole post about how I was going to do this, and how it would be this big important thing in my recovery? Of course I knew that none of you would be judging me. I also knew, though, that I’d be judging me–and self-judgment is far more harsh than any judgment handed down by others.
And so this evening, I accompanied Nat (the aforementioned fiancÃ©) to the kitchen and got to work. I tried not to think about how many excuses I could come up with as I peeled the cucumbers, and I continued to try to keep my mind clear as I chopped them. As I prepared the dressing for the salad, I realized I was sort of enjoying myself; that it wasn’t the cooking itself that was so bad, but the planning and to-do that always seems to accompany meals and food in general.
The salad took about five minutes to assemble, and is pretty tasty even though I used cider vinegar instead of the rice wine vinegar the recipe called for.
The difficulty I had with this very gentle return to cooking is a reminder to me of the seriousness of an eating disorder, the extent to which it gets inside your head and penetrates your thoughts. Having finished this recipe, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief; I can also recognize that this was a relatively small feat in some ways. When it comes to my kitchen recovery, I have a long road ahead of me, and one that will undoubtedly be full of twists and turns. The most important thing is to continue moving forward. And so on that note, I’d like to present my recipe for next week: fluffy cottage cheese pancakes! I used to make these all the time before my ED hit so it will be nice to eat them again. Plus, pancakes! Who doesn’t love them?
(I’d also love to hear your recipe suggestions– I’m trying to focus on things that are pretty quick and easy at this point. I’m also a vegetarian.)