As an introvert, I am all for spending a majority of time either alone or with those who are my friends and family. In the current world we live in, being an introvert can actually be something of a positive. One of my friends asked me the other day what my boyfriend and I do in our free time. We then laughed – as all of us are considered essential workers – and free time is largely spent catching up on sleep over the weekend. When asked what I did for vacation, I happily said I stayed home.

What I did during vacation that helped with my anxiety, though, was cooking. I’ve been cooking homemade meals for the better part of the last three months, but last week’s vacation really pushed me to venture out.

The earliest challenge was a chocolate and espresso tart – when surfing the great wide world of Pinterest I had stumbled upon it and decided that was what I wanted to make for my birthday. Since I start my birthday on German time – owning to that being my birthplace – I decided the day before my official birthday to make this selection.

My favorite part of cooking is using a recipe as “more sort of guidelines”. Usually a first time I have to stick pretty close to it – especially when meat is involved. When baking, though, I can experiment a little more. Instead of using a food processor to grind up the chocolate cookies for the crust, I decided to use the pestle of my mortal and pestle. I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about grinding the cookies by hand that really puts me into a recipe.

Now there are hundreds of cooking blogs out in the world. I’m not trying to do anything so fancy as one of those. Cooking has become something in my life that helps me to deal with my anxiety, panic, and occasional depression. It was explained to me only this week that cooking offers an element of control in a world where I – and I’m sure many more – feel they have lost hold of their world. Even for an introvert with a currently small circle due to social distancing and the pandemic, I have still felt that I don’t have control over a lot of things. I can’t even bring myself to go to a different grocery story across town right now. But when cooking, I have control over a process from start to finish.

When making the tart, not only did I have control on the process, I could alter the recipe. I could prioritize making it for just myself (I did share with my boyfriend and our landlords, LOL). From start to finish, it was something that was just about me. And that feeling is amazingly empowering. Too often I think we get lost in telling ourselves that what we’re experiencing is normal, that we can just keep going. But sometimes we need to stop, take a moment, and address that we are important too. Life isn’t just about helping others, sometimes we need to help ourselves.

While this isn’t a food blog, I’ll still keep sharing some recipes – especially the ones I create myself out of boredom, curiosity, or lack of ingredients. But each time I step into the kitchen, I step into a world that this introvert can start to feel like the world is not entirely gone bonkers.

Until next time…

It didn’t turn out quite like the picture LOL