Monday, January 31, 2011

Risotto For One

Risotto is one of my favorite foods, but I don't eat it too often. The fact that it's not especially healthy doesn't have nearly as much to do with this as it should. It has more to do with the fact that it's expensive, and Jeff really only likes it occasionally as a side dish with something else, and it takes a long time to cook and is kind of labor intensive.
I'm more than happy to invest the time and money into it when I get to share it with other people, especially other people I know (or I hope) will enjoy it. It's kind of become one of our "entertaining" foods. I like being able to share the good stuff with other people. I derive pleasure from seeing them pleased.

But what about me? What about what I want? And the fact of the matter is, I want risotto more often than I get it. I have been thinking lately about needs and wants and how they fit into my life. Not just the tangible stuff like food or clothes or shelter, but the intangible stuff like rest and peace and comfort. The risotto just happened to be an appropriate illustration that really got my attention. Because the fact of the matter is, I'm not very good at meeting my own needs, satisfying my own cravings because I don't ever try.

I have really been craving risotto lately. And we finally went to the store a few weeks ago and got some more. But Jeff is now on a low-carb kick. And he's teaching so he's not home for dinner a couple of nights a week. And work as been keeping me on my toes and I've been coming home really beat. And... and... and...

So the other night I decided that I was going to make some risotto for myself. Just for myself. Jeff was teaching and would be home late. I had worked all day but really felt as though a half hour or so over the stove would be good for me and help me de-stress before I finished a paper I had to get turned in. So that's exactly what I did. And it took me a little while to figure out what I was doing. Because I had never had to cut a recipe down for one person before! But I did it and it was delicious. It tasted better than it ever has before. I don't know if it's because I was using some different spices or because I was simply cooking less, or because I wasn't rushed and could invest the time that it needed. Or maybe because I was doing it for me.

As I was taking the time to do this, I decided to also take the time to listen to the objections that kept popping up in my head.
"It's not worth wasting a serving on just me."
"I should save this for something or someone special."
"Why spend the time if you're the only one who will be able to enjoy it?"

There were others, but they were variations on this same theme. And that really got me thinking about my priorities and what happens when I listen to myself and DON'T give in to those thoughts. Because I didn't let myself be deterred by all my doubts. I did what I wanted. I made risotto just for me, and it was spectacular. And not only was my craving satisfied, I felt really good about it. I enjoyed the process of satisfying the craving, not simply the end result. And that was an important lesson for me. That it's not just about the destination, it's the journey. And it doesn't have to be an uphill climb the whole way!

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