Why I Am A Better Cook Today

An offering used in a ceremony in Sedona Arizona called a despacho.
The flowers above are called a despacho. It's an offering used in ceremony. It was actually really cool to put together. I even put some of my spices into it.

Last month I had the opportunity to do a week-long intensive treatment in Sedona, Arizona. Watching the sunrise every morning over Munds Mountain, exploring the land, body work, meditation, ceremony, painting, journaling and everything else that happened during that week was exactly what I needed to not only prepare myself for all the changes that are happening this year within Pinch of Fancy, but also to help me process the changes and loss within my own personal life. I lost my dad to a very short but intense battle with gastric cancer in September of last year. I’m still processing this loss but this trip gave me time to look at it and reflect. I miss him and my mother daily but knowing that they are together again and free from pain helps me to move through the grief knowing that they will never truly be gone. 

Being connected and aware of myself and everything around me is something that I work very hard at. It’s not something that I always knew I was capable of, in fact when I was first introduced to the idea of feeling and listening to my body, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. It wasn’t until I actually experienced it for myself that I knew it was something that I needed to keep as a practice in my day-to-day life. Professional kitchens are loud, and hectic and everything moves very quickly. It doesn’t take long to get lost in the chaos if you’re not careful. The work hard, play hard mentality is still very strong within the industry and many struggle with substance abuse problems and mental health issues.

Understanding that there has to be a work life balance and truly pushing for that is one of the many reasons I left full time restaurant work.  It was not an easy decision to walk away, I felt as though I was turning my back on everything that I loved. Now here it is three years later and I am thankful that I did. I have more time for my family, I have more time for myself, and I get to be creative in so many different ways. I get to teach hands-on cooking classes for individuals and/or small groups. I never thought I would enjoy this as much as I do. I love to teach and share my knowledge and techniques with people. It is such a great feeling when I can hook someone’s attention and really get down to the basics of cooking which is really just learning techniques and listening to your intuition. 

I am a better cook because I learned and practice these skills daily. Every time I cook, whether it’s for me or for my family, I am present, in the moment, and I am open. Open to any messages that come through that tell me what to add next. Open to listening to the vegetables I am cutting and the potatoes I am seasoning. They tell me how they want to be cut and prepared. Open to the voices of my ancestors telling me to add a pinch of this or a dash of that. All of this influences me daily and I’m thankful to have learned it.

Are you looking to learn new techniques to inspire your cooking? Maybe you have a technique that you would like to share. Either way, hit reply and tell me your thoughts. Or better yet, join my For the Love of Food page on Facebook  and start a conversation. Let’s help our community grow.

Keeping it real in the kitchen,

Kristin Costa

1 thought on “Why I Am A Better Cook Today”

  1. Just last weekend I bought your sample kit at the Tiverton Farmers Market and after trying just two so far, I am excited to try the rest. Your blends are so interesting and delicious. Definitely nothing I could come up with myself. If you have a mailing list for future cooking classes or other events, please add me to it. Thanks!

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