Episode 1: Canelés de Bordeaux
My first episode. It’s out in the world! Yikes and holy vulnerable moment. This process is not what I expected. I learned a plethora of information about documenting all the many little steps in a complicated recipe and translating it into a video. I also made canelés de Bordeaux about fifty times. I’m not going to be ready to bite into another one for awhile! But boy are they delicious and totally worth the effort of this recipe.
The most beautiful thing about this episode is its completion. I did it. Is it perfect? No. The recipe is perfect and will produce a perfect canelé! That’s the point, right? The episode production isn’t quite what I had in mind but I am proud that every single shot and detail of it was curated by me and my extremely supportive husband, AKA The Camera Man. The Satisfied Cook can only grow and develop in beauty as I learn. Carving out the beginning is simply the first step.
Canelés de Bordeaux are a labor of LOVE. From start to finish, they take two days to make. These little French pastries are finicky and this is why I love them. Maybe I relate to them (wink, nod). When looking for content for my first episode I asked myself, “How often am I pushing myself to create something that is burdensome in nature?” It would be easy to make a simple recipe and put it out there but what about a difficult one? Why not invite a little struggle?
Our culture is continuously trying to remove onerous activities and replace it with convenience, especially when it comes to our food supply and how we feed ourselves. 30 minute meals or crock-pot meal planning. However delicious and convenient, I don’t think the “quick fix” is always a healthy process because we, in turn, remove the opportunity to problem solve and persevere in the kitchen. I think most of this is due to the fact that our time is now so limited. Our time for creation and ideation has been sucked dry with productivity and living fast-paced lives. We don’t have time for mistakes because we don’t have time to start over if we make them. We are so in tune with news, the location of our friends on Twitter, and what we need to do next to be productive. We are diabolically connected and therefore, paradoxically disconnected. I think we are very disconnected from ourselves and with this sort of detachment, it becomes easier and more of a necessity to make something quick. Unfortunately, this also removes any stock in pride we might gain by failing. We are just trying to keep our head above water. We just don’t have time to fail anymore. Over time, this will be a massive injustice if we can’t carve out space for being the creators we are made to be. After all, we are human.
I am not against quick meals, I am speaking from my own personal life experience and from a place of missing true creativity and really feeling like a human. A couple of years ago, we sold our so-called “dream house” and we escaped to Italy for three months before moving our family across the country. We felt like we were living a life outside of ourselves, moving fast-paced and building a business but leaving our most human selves in the dust. A disconnected marriage while navigating parenthood is not the life we envisioned. Then again, who does hope for that to happen? Somehow it did, slowly, piece by piece, over the course of a couple of years. You can have all of the appearances of the so-called “American dream” but feel like you are living the antithesis of a dream.
Since then, we have moved cross-country twice, discovering what it means for us to be connected as a family again and finding out what we want from life. This took some serious slowing down and detox. We also drank a lot of wine, had a lot of meaningful conversations, and found the laughter we missed. Looking back, we had to let go of stuff so that we could strip our lives down to just our family. We even had to let go of some relationships and the process wasn’t easy. In all of this stripping away, I realized that as humans in the present world, we rarely get a chance to give our brains a break. We rarely give ourselves a chance to jump at something, even if it’s scary, because we are so occupied with staying afloat in our race for success, in the false comfort of what we call “security”. Our gray matter is on overdrive and it makes it so easy to fall asleep to what brings us into deeper connection, a passion for living, a zest for walking this beautiful Earth.
The kitchen is a place where I feel like I can connect to a more human part of my being. I can get dirty in flour and sticky with candy-making flops. I can ferment foods and pureé them, only to discover the flavor combination didn’t work. I create and I fail. My second attempts are always preceded with eye-rolling and the muttering of expletives, but the outcome is always pleasing because I learned by losing.
I know this sounds like I am trying to solve the problem of a fast-paced culture with making small French pastries and maybe I am. But I think there are micro ways in which we can slow down and satisfy ourselves by creating something new, making something difficult in the kitchen, and finding a new sense of self in the struggle of the process. This is the story of how The Satisfied Cook came to life for me and I hope, with everything in my being, that it brings you life and ignites the passions stirring below the surface. It is possible to find ways in which to feel human again. Digging into the dirt, building a fire, cooking over that fire, growing something from seed, slowly down, and giving your hard-working brain the rest it deserves.