Cooking Comfort

24 Mar

by Andrea Kelton

Quick fresh tomato soup.  Lemony kale with avocado/coconut dressing.  Baked zucchini, tomato and feta.  Reading recipes relaxes me.  When writing lesson plans numbs my brain, I take a break and search my favorite vegetarian websites.  Refreshed and inspired, I can’t wait to cook up a new dish.

For five months every year, farmers bring their seasonal bounty to Chicago.  Saturday mornings, rain or shine, I pull my cart to the North Ceter market.  I plan my week’s menu, based on the plentiful offerings of fruits and vegetables.  I need to consciously remind myself that I live alone and can only eat so much…otherwise I’d buy it all!  Cart bulging, I head for home and my kitchen.

Popping a peppy CD in the player, I peruse my recipe file.  A plan in mind, I boogey into the kitchen.  Green beans get blanched.  Zucchini and tomatoes sliced and diced.  Kale washed and shredded.

I grate, chop and mince onions, garlic and ginger while nibbling spicy arugula leaves. Which vinegar to choose?  Balsamic, rice wine or apple cider?  Whisk in an oil-olive, coconut or toasted sesame.  So many salad dressing flavor combinations…yummee!

When I cook, I’m in the zone.  No thought of work, lesson plans or curriculum.  Just me and the textures, tastes and smells that saturate my soul.  Hours later, a week’s worth of ready to eat meals fill my fridge.

With a fresh salad in hand, I turn on the TV for company while I eat.  Hmmm…let’s see…what’s on the Cooking Channel?

Andrea Kelton was diagnosed with uveitis in 1974.  Today she lives in Chicago and teaches Adult Basic Education at Literacy Chicago.  She attends a weekly memoir writing class, “Me, Myself and I” taught by author Beth Finke.

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