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  • Writer's pictureJosie Coco

Food for the soul

Day 190/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.

When I think of soul food I think of food that has earth on its roots, bugs to be washed off the leaves, and roots to be dried or roasted.

What is it about food that feeds the soul? Sarah suggests and I agree that its about the memories. Aromas and rituals that remind you of shared history, connection and belonging.

My father was a sugar-cane farmer. We always had a bag of the first cut of raw sugar from the sugar mill. Deliciously laced with molasses that hadn't been refined to deathly white, it glazed every syrupy dessert, was the base notes of the biscuits that my mother cooked and stored in rows of cake tins on the top shelf of the kitchen cupboards, and made the most divine chocolate fudge and caramel.

My brother was a whiz at making caramels. When he was in the kitchen I stood by in awe, waiting for those tasty morsels to set.

Alongside our home was a huge vegetable garden, my father's other true love. All manner of veggies in neat rows, tenderly cared for, crisp and nutritious for the kitchen table. An outdoor pantry, one of us would be sent to fetch the ingredients for preparation of the next meal.

An orchard of trees bursting with citrus fruits, nuts and berries that we grazed on throughout the day during our childhood years. We were never short of these sweet and tasty delights to take at will.

There's no doubt we are a foodie sort of family. My mother didn't consider herself a great cook. Her Italian mother-in-law took her under her wing and taught her enough to get by. She did good. The smells from the kitchen were always a welcome sign and the promise of a full tummy to come.

My sister became a chef and with that, the centre of much of our entertainment as a family in our adult years. When she was around everyone vacated the kitchen as she worked her magic. Or better still, stayed right at her side to be her side kick and hopefully pick up a few tasty tips.

There's nothing that speaks to my soul more clearly than walking into my garden to pick fresh for my meals. My garden is young and establishing, and even at this early stage, I am imagining it in all its glory that it will someday be as I continue to pour my love into creating my paradise.

Lemongrass, basil and mints grow close to the kitchen entrance. Avocados hang as large green baubles close by. Limes, a step or two away. In the next couple of weeks I'll be lifting the turmeric, scrubbing it clean and drying it in my dehydrator to make a soulful living turmeric powder that I'll use almost daily in my cooking.

Pancake Sunday has become a tradition in my own little family. Freshly made on Sunday morning as whomever slept over rises slowly with the morning sun.

It's time to reflect and remember the other meals that I cooked as my son was growing up. I'm sure he'll remember them. Resurrecting them might be a lovely way to invoke those memories of meals we shared together.

What would you consider to be your soul food? What are your earliest and most nurturing memories that included food that nourished not only your body, but also your soul?


Simple Abundance

366 days Towards Self-Mastery

When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)

I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.

As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.

My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?

I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.


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