Here I am cooking... or should I say 'ruining' dinner! As I was experiencing mostly one disaster after another.
New kitchen and kitchen appliances, new ingredients, new climate, air, water... everything is different here than when I am cooking in South Africa. Things were not working out the way I was used to as I was making my usual butter chicken, naan and paneer, yet there was a lot of pressure coming at me to cook a meal for a group of guests, not to the waste money spent on ingredients by things not working out, and to make something fabulous!
What happened was that I burnt the sauce even though I was cooking it a lowest level on the stove top. My cheese simply did not separate into curds and whey, but became a thick cream, my bread did not rise half as much as I am used to - all while using the same steps and measurements I always do!
I thought to myself, 'well this is a disaster', and was told by someone "if you fuck it up I'll kill you" lol! Half jokingly, yet at the same time not.
The interesting thing was that I felt totally fine about the whole thing: as things were not working out, I was feeling a bit bad, yes, but not stressed, not worried, not guilty... what existed in me was more along the lines of: I've done my best so we'll have to make do with whatever happens!
And it's funny because I remember walking this point of 'ruining a meal' at the farm - There is actual real consequence to it, with the resources wasted when resources are limited, and then people also depending on and planning their work etc around a certain meal time - and so I would stress every week on my cooking day to the point where I would get knots in my back... and it seems so silly now how I would project people being angry and disappointed and not liking my food, and it would trigger a whole spiral of reaction within me.
And so I worked on the point every week until it eventually became about practical skill development only (with of course enjoyment, expression, experimenting etc), where I let go of the expectations and projections and worked instead from a more grounded and present stance.
And this is what I did today, quite naturally as I was cooking this meal that was not working out. And it was a pleasant surprise to see my hard self-work pay off, because I used to get myself worked up into quite a state when preparing for guests to arrive in my home.
In this scenario, I saved the sauce by changing pots and not stirring up the burnt part, we made an experiment out of the overly creamy cheese, by breading and frying it into balls which were quite yummie, and the naan was much thicker and heavier than I'm used to, but everyone seemed to love it, and loved the butter chicken too! There were people that didn't show up as well, so a smaller group than expected, lots of left overs to take home, and a very calm, relaxed chef that could laugh at the earlier threats and expectations!
This EQAFE recording assisted me most in working with my anxiety. I listened to it years ago, and still apply the information today. This is one recording, but it is part of a series on anxiety which I'd highly recommend for anyone whose anxiety tends to get in the way of things they should normally enjoy: