We decided to rent a cottage rather than staying in a bed and breakfast partly so that we can cook for ourselves a good part of the time. And now that we are here, I’m really grateful that we did. Spring has been late arriving everywhere in the Northeast this year. Everything was finally coming into blossom back home in New York when we left. I was so relieved; it seemed like winter might never end. And then we drove 8 hours further north. Spring had to follow us. When we arrived almost nothing was in bloom. Now, after a few days of warmth and sunshine they trees are busting out. But it’s still not tourist season. Many of the restaurants are not open. A lot of the touristy things we wanted to do, like ferries to the outer islands are not operating yet. AND IT’S NOT LOBSTER SEASON! We were really looking forward to lots of fresh local seafood, but it’s not happening.
Which leads me to this month’s topic. Do you live and eat according to the seasons? We all have rhythms that dictate our lives, whether we are conscious of them or not. Growing up I lived in a university town, and so our lives were divided into the academic year and summer. In my mind, the year really began in late August when school began. When I moved to New York city, and I was working 80 hour weeks, my only rhythm was work and sleep, work and sleep. That didn’t feel good to me so I moved upstate. Living in the country, with its abundance of farm stands, I began to become aware of the local food movement. Around the same time, I was introduced to the Weston A. Price Foundation and its focus on traditional, nutrient-dense whole food diets.
Slowly, I noticed that my body and my mood changed with the seasons. Spring was especially hard for me. Sometime in mid-April I would feel like I was crawling out of my skin. All that energy of new growth was hard for me to handle. Eventually, I realized a lot of my discomfort was from being out of alignment with what was going on around me. I decided to make a conscious effort to live in harmony with the seasons. So, in the early spring, really, late winter, I think about what I want to plant and grow in my life—physically and metaphorically—in the next growing season. In the summer I work to manifest those things. In the fall I gather in my work, and in the winter I allow myself to rest and renew.
I also eat much more seasonally. Since I buy most of my food from local vendors, I mostly eat what’s in season. I only eat strawberries and tomatoes for a few weeks a year. If they aren’t in season locally, I generally don’t eat them. I eat denser, more warming foods in the winter, and lighter, cooler foods in the summer. Most of my food comes unpackaged and unpreserved in any way. I like it that way. I’m willing to trade strawberry cravings in winter for the real thing, sweet and warm from the garden in the summer.
But, not living by the ocean, I never thought about seafood season. I do buy my fish from a store that imports it from all over the world. While I’m disappointed that we are not having the typical Maine vacation drenched in seafood, I’m glad to be offered yet another opportunity for mindful eating.
I will be scheduling more public cooking classes later in the spring and summer. But you can get me any time. I also do private lessons and in home cooking class parties (like tupperware parties, except you get to improve your joy and comfort around cooking and we all get to eat together.) Contact me to schedule a time.