I heard this somewhere in the context of bad things happening. That phrase has kept my mind from taking me down dark paths. I once had a therapist who asked me “if it does happen, then what?”“What’s the worst thing that can happen?” She asked me to play that all the way out, and when I did it was less scary. But in all honesty there are bad things happening, now what?
I didn’t go to therapy for cooking but I remember when I first started doing this cooking/blog/writing it was more about the commitment and discipline. It wasn’t the most terrifying thing at all in comparison to a lot of other things. But I knew I needed to take baby steps to move towards some thing that I felt was really good for my family. I had #goals. Those goals were related to learning more about people and places beyond our borders. But more than that, my intentions was a way for our family to stay connected, to share in our lives as we got older and cement a way of relating. Some of the glue that held us together was our playfulness, we definitely wanted to make loving fun. I’m not sure if we set up our kids for their future but many of our serious questions were answered by a song and a dance. I mean Michael Jackson’s “Man in the mirror” -that song taught us all about change and making a difference. That song said more than what one parent could say about character. Or, if we wanted to talk about justice or social issues how about Kirk Franklin’s “Revolution.” Just earlier this week, my oldest sent me a song about dynamite! It’s actually from a K-pop band and how much fun it is to live life with joy. I’m sure we all have songs that speak to us, and in our house the music and dance-off competitions helped us navigate life in this world and with each other.
In relation to my international cooking, I always picked out music from that country for that month. I wanted to give my family a sense of what the culture was like. Bollywood music was a favorite as well as moving around to some Cuban salsa dancing. We’ve also listened to Russian orthodox music, Ethiopian music, Italian love songs and French ballads. Egyptian music is a little bit harder to find but I managed to get it. I mean Mark Antony and Cleopatra can throw down some good love music.
I mentioned in the beginning of this post that just because it “can” happen doesn’t mean it will or that it will be bad. But even if it does happen that way and it may, now what? My husband told me to lean into it. That’s pretty scary because I don’t know what the other side brings. Bad things are currently happening right now. I know there’s Covid and people are dying everyday. I know we have this election that’s totally gone Cray Cray (slang for crazy but I like the slang better than the actual word). I know that businesses are being shuttered. I know that people are losing their jobs and worried about how they can get food on the table.
What might it look like to pray for our country and our world and lean into it. I’m not saying I have all the answers, I don’t even have one answer. I just want to be able to do one thing that makes a difference. What would it look like to wear a mask everywhere for a little while right now? How about during this holiday season perhaps buy a meal for somebody? Or if you know a business whose doors are closing, ask if there’s anything you can do.
When I make my Russian food, our tradition is to pray for that country and their contributions. Maybe here’s a little something you can do -in your prayers, offer thanksgiving for the farmer who picked your vegetables or the chicken that gave you your eggs or the cattle that gave you that steak or the caught fish who offered its life. Once a long time ago, our family danced to a song about a cow called La Vaca. Just last month, that La Vaca song was played for the father- daughter song at my daughter’s wedding. The words themselves really had no special meaning except that it was so much fun to dance to! Yep, this is our way of relating by dancing and singing and praying and hoping and blessing. I know bad things happen, but just because they can, doesn’t mean it will and if it does, lean into it and trust that you’ve got what it takes to make it through.
So I know this is a blog about cooking and I have been cooking Russian and we are absolutely loving it especially since it’s cold there are a few nice warm dishes. Dishes, like chicken burgers with a mushroom sauce; phyllo wrapped and stuffed with cabbage and egg; blinis; apple cake; chicken soup; chicken kiev; Russian salad. Here’s a few of the pictures and stay tuned for what’s next!