Wild cook

From Soil to Soul

Awakening the Wild Cook Within

Wild cookBy Sophia Young – Cook in residence for Women Rising Rooted

I think it would be fair to say that the bowels of the earth have a question for us and their voice is undoubtedly growing louder and louder, yet in a peculiar, quietly-understated way. I wonder if you have heard it too? Yes, the persistent, insistent grumble that echoes in the echo-chambers of our seemingly insatiable digestive tracts.

What, they bellow, is happening to our relationship with food? What, they howl, is happening to what we eat? It’s become fanciful. Distorted. And, you might agree, somewhat absurd. And, yes, crazily mushroomed into a grotesque part of our fragile status in the world that appears to surround us. It’s no longer only the privileged banqueting tables of Henry VIII and William and Kate that flaunt to those beyond these four walls, how supposedly great we are, how cool we are, how sexy we are. It’s every meal. From home-cooked Sunday lunches with our best buds to desserts at the local pub. From Farmer’s Market burgers and the best vegan street food this side of Dalston. Each platter posted across the world-wide-web, as couples and friends and soon to be our children, shoot for posterity what momentarily passes from fork to tongue, fills us with wayward notions of how food should be. Bombards us with how to eat. Where to eat. What to eat. What not to eat. Each selfie shot with quinoa as the featuring star, rather than fuelling our bellies and hearts with nourishment, stands to pull us apart. Apart from Source, apart from Origin and our precious connection and inherent relationship with this earth.

And this, we know, has not been an overnight event. It was seeded in yesterday with vast reason and longed-for ease to lessen toil, monotony and drudgery. It was planted to create an imagined freedom to be elsewhere other than beside an oven, the kitchen sink, peeling spuds, podding peas. It has been harboured over decades and burning on stoves in households for generations. This we know. The deep desire to transform the invisible work, the work chosen not to be seen, into something other, something more affirming of self, grew from the gut and stood deservedly on the shoulders of many.

But here however, we have arrived. From the narrow aisle ways of ready meals and microwaves. From our capacity to dine out. And out. And out. From seeming wealth and abundance and ginormous arrays of produce, flown to our finger tips in a moment’s swipe at Waitrose’s checkout from each and every continent. To neurosis, to intolerance, to allergens filling our kitchen cupboards and that super, super-new berry that I can’t pronounce the name of yet, that we just posted on Instagram…

To all of this, there are questions, propositions and an incessant pulsing curiousness. How might we be able to re-imagine our ability to sustain ourselves and, quite possibly, cook-up a daring new road-map from field to kitchen to gut-asserting, life-enriching sustenance? Maybe it is time, with glorious abandon, to go off-piste a little and re-member an essential ingredient that seems to have long been forgotten and neglected. Maybe sustain-ability can translate in a new way, in new form with fresh tending roots of old.

And this calls for magic. It calls for adventure. Not to far-off lands where soya-beans and raw- cacao live. It calls for an adventure into a terrain that is far, far closer to home.

And this calls for magic. It calls for adventure. Not to far-off lands where soya-beans and raw- cacao live. It calls for an adventure into a terrain that is far, far closer to home.

Take a moment. Go on. Look down at your feet. Your toes. Then weave your gaze upward to the bowl of your pelvis. Your magnificent rib basket and all that resides here.

Yes. Maybe health is nearer at hand than we have been sold to believe. Maybe, in fact, it lies in our very perceptive beating beings and maybe we can, quite simply, create a different kind of bounty to nourish all and everything we hold dear.

Yes. If we have learned to eat with our eyes, I wish to ask you this; What if we can re-discover how to cook with our ears and our hearts? What if, as we stand with onion in palm, we can learn to attune and attend to this piece of wonder and make merry with it? What if we….

Yes. It is time to re-ignite the flame and stir up the cooks within us. The artists in the kitchen. The witches in the kitchen. The wizards. Them all. It is time to navigate our way back from the wilderness and disconnect from Source. It is time to re-kindle instead the wildness within, as chopping boards and knives beckon fingers into alchemic dream-worlds of taste, honour and sacrosanctity.

There is, Dear You, belly-rumbling calling for intuition. From YOU! There is invitation for your gut to step up to the plate. Yes yours! There is earth-trembling desire for trust. A deep trust of self, your connection. OF YOU! Your vitality and knowing. To know you are as equally as potent as the power-foods creating vapour trails skyward in this fabulous pot of co-creation.

We can all cook. We can all dance this beautiful dance. We can all summon the wild and un- loved places of our inner-landscapes and the Field of Life.

We can all cook. We can all dance this beautiful dance. We can all summon the wild and un-loved places of our inner-landscapes and the Field of Life. It doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be beans on toast that carry divinity. It can be the burnt roast tomatoes. It can be supposed-to-be but not, al dente. It can be not perfect. It can really, really, really be not perfect. And most certainly not picture-perfect. It can be simplicity. It can be the tears that fell as you nursed a heart breaking open as you whisked eggs and milk and vegan alternatives. It can be laughter and growls of fucked-off-ness with your partner coz they forgot to bring home the flour. And gluten-free alternatives. It can be not lunch-time or breakfast-time or supper-time. It can be your own time. It can be your own freaking-awesome rhythm. YES.

It can be the courageous-cyclones and eco-systems of Life that breathe you. It can be your talk to the animals, the plants, your prayer to the sweet potatoes. It can be the inner-children who yearn to lick the bowl but learned to silence and stifle their desires. It can be the ancestors telling you stories of the harvest that never came. It can be their sorrow. Their hunger. Their rage and yours.

It can be your own climate change as it can and it will change your climate.

Wild Cook Within

It can be your love. It can be Love’s love, knowing in the deep folds of the universe, it is all only this.

It will sustain you. You will sustain you. Your listening in. Your leaning in. Leaning into the whispering roots of all vegetables, the seeds of all fruits, romancing flavours that you never knew existed.

Sprinkle your magic. Cultivate your love. Cherish your gut and all that it tells you. Bring curiosity to intolerance. Bring reverence to the landscape of self. Listen how it is far wider and deeper than the mass production and obscene depletion of our sacred earth. And, secretly at sunrise tear up and burn the recipe books, Sunday supplements and blog-posts aplenty, knowing today’s stove and meal-time replacement will be inspired with the wisdom of your own blessed fire and intuition instead.

Request the nourishment of deep pleasure as you bring your gifts to the table. Let it all be divine. Let it all be messy.

Yes. Watch the intimacy of bees with nectar and learn to salsa and waltz in the kitchen just as they. Rock it with friends, your children. In solitude at the midnight hour. Call in the elements. All of them. Call in your intention. Light a flame to hold all this and allow your inner-earth to speak to the sacredness of every bean, pulse and vegetable at hand. Request the nourishment of deep pleasure as you bring your gifts to the table. Let it all be divine. Let it all be messy. Surrender and let the mud and playful one within cause resplendent, unapologetic culinary chaos. Unhook yourself from the pomp and pretence and the completion of divorce papers from Source. Feel the song and this ravenous hunger to return. Be this ode, kissing life back into this beautiful Field of Life. Let it feed you, as outrageously as it can. Share it boldly, gallantly. As you feed and serve your beloveds with freedom, poetry and majestic connection.

Yes. Cook up storms and feasts and heart-full-ness a plenty. Roll-up your sleeves and let the adrenaline, the risk-adverse, the doubt and the seasons of our being all be vital ingredients in this celebration too. Leave none of it out. Well, maybe. Just for this communion, Dear One with beet stained apron, tread wildly where few of us do. Be brave enough, if you dare, to let the conversation on social media this evening turn to other, planet-saving rebellion. For this one, you do not need your phone.

Beloved Beet Borscht

A gut full of Beets

A merry handful or two of white onions

A bevy of garlic bulbs

A couple of apples to add

Lovely lemons, Nigella Seeds, Caraway, Boullion,

Apple Cider Vinegar and maybe a splash of Balsamic

Roast peeled and chopped beets, naked garlic cloves with caraway, lemon juice and / or rind in oil and a dash of water until super soft and melty, using either a baking pan lid or tin foil help steam. Length of time depends on the size of the chopped beets but the slower the better for the uber-flavour.

In another baking tin, roast onions, sliced into quarters, with garlic and Nigella seeds once again until silky soft.

When both trays of veg are sweet like velvet, combine into one of the tins. Sluice boiling around the empty tray to gather remaining seeds and flavour then pour into tin laden with beets and co. Then pour additional water until it sits just beneath the remaining veg at the top of the tin. Add a spoonful or two of Boullion, a glug of apple cider, dash of Balsamic and a hunk of butter or dairy alternative.

Pop back in oven whilst you drink tea, phone a pal, take a bath…. And then, when you’re ready, remove from oven and pour into large enough saucepan for blitzing.

Blitz for consistency of preference, rough, smooth, add more liquid if necessary, salt, pepper, cider vinegar to taste….

Super lovely with crème fraiche and vegan-friendly yogurts.

Golden Banana & Tumeric Jackflap

Oats, dates, cinnamon, ground ginger, tumeric

Bananas, cashews

Melted butter or something akin

Grated apple grated orange rind

Start making a quinoa salad. Rinse dates ready to add. Realise they’ve gone to mush and realise you need to prepare a snack for 11am. That’s an hour away. Pour date mush into a large baking tray. Add glug-fulls of oats. Sprinkle with cinnamon, ground ginger, turmeric. Wonder if this is going to work OK or be ready in time. Start loving the moment. Slice bananas. Add. Find the bag of cashews. Add a few mindful handfuls. Grate apple. Grate orange rind. Melt vegan butter alternative. Add a couple of large spoon-fulls of muesli. Ditch the wooden spoon and use hands. Plunge in and mix. Blend. Make merry. Transfer to another lined baking tray with parchment that your learned to cut in school so the edges neatly fold in. Turn the oven to 200 and hope 45 minutes will be sufficient time knowing there is no time for it to cool and harden off, lest alone 24 hours. Serve hot. Serve with Golden Milk inspired by a last minute’s beautiful decision making. Serve with freshly picked blackcurrants and slices of apple and sprigs of mint. Make it into a cutting-it-by-the-wire-it’s-almost-11am work of art with your friends. Feel the joy and know when someone says afterwards, “That went straight to my soul”, your day is unfolding well. Thank the heavens for date mush and wild spontaneity and a sugar-free super delicious mid-morning super-fuel snack.

wild cook