Friday, November 25, 2011


"What can I bring for Thanksgiving dinner?" I asked my sister.

"Let's see. An apple pie, a bottle of wine, umm...," she replied.

This was good so far. There's a gourmet market in town that makes delicious pies and wine is easy. So while my sister is home on Thanksgiving day, stuffing a 24 pound turkey, peeling potatoes and chopping vegetables, I'll be on my couch exchanging glances between the newspaper and the Macy's Day Parade. Should I feel guilty? Probably, but I got over that years ago. After all, my sister insists that she loves preparing the Thanksgiving meal, and frankly, I don't. In fact, I don't even like to cook. Over the years hungry children and a distaste for frozen dinners have forced me into this chore, but when given the option, I'd rather let someone else do the work. I mean, isn't that why they have salad bars and those convenient rotisserie chickens in grocery stores today.

So as my sister tried to think of one more item for me to bring, I thought about who might flub up a lip sync on an elaborate float at the parade.

Then it came -- those dreaded words...,"Peg would you mind making the butternut squash?"

"Absolutely not," I said as a jitterbug starting dancing in my gut. How do you turn a hard peach vegetable shaped like a warped trumpet into a velvety orange souffle?

I started asking around about how to make that happen and received all kinds of advice like:

"Go with frozen squash. No one will know the difference."

"Who eats butternut squash, anyway?"

"Order it at that gourmet market in town." Really? At $24.99 for six servings?

"Making squash isn't hard, although cutting it in half is like trying to slice an ice cube and the pulp is so messy."

"Just bake it before mashing. Don't try peeling it. The skin is almost as tough as a pineapple's."

It was clear that butternut squash was the vegetable from Hell. I thought about going with the frozen option. No. Not for Thanksgiving. Maybe order it. I'd need twelve servings = $49.98. Can't do it -- not when I can make it for $10.00 and that extra $40.00 could go to the food pantry. I had only one option -- buck up and prepare the squash into something edible.                  

I suddenly had a revelation. Cooking could quite possibly be a kick back moment. I Googled Cooking and Stress and found volumes. Examples of some of the conclusions are:
  • Chopping vegetables can release stress especially if you use them like a voodoo doll (think of that guy with road rage who followed you down the highway on your way to work the other day, then chop...chop...chop).    
  • Aromatherapy - Here’s a brief breakdown of some common cooking scents and how they can enhance your mood:
    • Energizing/Invigorating: Orange, Rosemary, Lemon.
    • Stress Relief: Lavender, Sage.
    • Sleep Aids: Lavender, Chamomile.
    • Mood Elevators: Mint, Basil.
  • Zen Effect - After you start cooking, you can sometimes reach the Zen state of meditation. You’re in the zone of cutting, grinding, and sauteing. All that matters is the food.
So this past Thanksgiving morning I did what many American do, I cooked. Here's the proof:

Yes. I did cheat. My local grocery store did such a nice job peeling and chopping the butternut squash for me, I wanted to thank them by purchasing it. Plus, I had a good week and didn't feel the need to implement "voodoo" on anyone by stabbing a vegetable.

By the way, people do eat butternut squash at Thanksgiving and the compliments I received for my efforts were wonderful.

Is cooking now my favorite kick back activity? No. But do I get why it is for many people? Yes. And with the right music, the heavenly aromas and a glass full of Chardonnay by my side, I just might engage in culinary endeavors a little more often.

For more on cooking and stress relief click here:

Kick Back Song of the Week:

In honor of delicious food no matter who does the cooking...Frim Fram Sauce sung by Diana Krall --incredible piano and bass solos:

Kick Back Book of the Week:

Melissa Senate mixes love, cooking and magic into an incredible recipe. A fun, heartwarming read! Warning: It will make you very hungry -- delicious descriptions of food.

For more, click here,

A Little Something Extra:

Thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for all of the scrumptious holidays!!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment