Consider me a planner, an obsessive list maker and someone who always ensures that my i’s are dotted and my t’s crossed whether in my personal or professional life. Some people may call me anal and neurotic but I prefer over-achiever. Whether meeting with someone one on one, teaching or speaking stones are rarely left unturned, the job always gets done well and I am truly prepared for anything. When writing for books, blogs or my radio show, the same approach is necessary. So, how do I keep it all together? Newsflash…I don’t. Just ask my husband and close friends.
In fact, a few weeks back while busy at home preparing for a big meeting with my publisher, I offered to cook my friend dinner—he was running ragged from his recent launch of the Dock to Dish Restaurant Supported Fishery (and supplied me with the fish to make a delicious and nutritious meal) and I screwed up! Not only did I fail at filleting the fish well but I also overcooked the crap out of it. And given our close relationship, he suggested that I get my game on.
Needless to say, that sparked some reflection. Why is it that I am 100 percent on my game when working but at home, “crooked cooking” is OK? Well, when in my home kitchen and not working, I unravel (in a good way) as this is what keeps me balanced.
I recently returned from Food As Medicine in San Francisco. It is an awe-inspiring annual training conference bringing together the best minds in food, nutrition and health. My dear mentor, colleague and friend Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN manages the nutrition end of things while my culinary partner in crime Rebecca Katz wrangles the food to the level of perfection that I embrace in my work.
While on the West coast, a few days of vacation post-conference was a must. And I had the great honor of joining Rebecca and her family in their home for dinner one evening. And to my utter delight, I observed this perfectionist as absentminded as I am in my own kitchen. While she was mortified that the grill ran out of gas, that her baked oven fries didn’t come out the way she wanted and that she didn’t have the right pickles, I felt relieved to know that crooked cooking is something Rebecca owns as much as I do.
In the end, life is about balance. So I own my crooked cooking and realize how incredibly necessary it is on so many levels. So, as this over-achiever is learning how to give herself a break, I ask that you think about how you can do that for yourself too.