Around 5 years ago a very cool opportunity landed in my lap to cook delicious filling and nutritious food for a local film set. Wondering around in my semi-successful but not really self-sustaining life was becoming monotonous so I said yes. Also I really like to make people happy.
Nothing much came of it. I had fun. It was interesting to see how things work on a film set but that seemed to be it. Cooking tacos in a hallway at a local community college - achievement unlocked!
A few months later the same people asked me to do it again. I was still bumbling about in my career and wondering what the fuck I was doing so again I said yes.
This happened on and off for 2 years.
And then I had done enough, or reached enough people or the Seattle film world got busy but suddenly I was working at least every other month on a project.
And I loved it! And I hated it!
When I was on set I hated the hours and how long everything took and the crazy manic-ness of a film set. I especially hated how my house would turn into a war zone of boxes and food stuffs and hours of sorting. The water bottles and the soda cans would eventually become my mortal enemies. But I equally loved the instant family, the designing of meal plans and creative snacks and that I got to feed and nurture amazing creative people and as I got to know these people I got to do tiny gestures of culinary love and delight.
But sometime two or so years ago the charm started to fall out of working on set. The weird schedules and the stupid 14-16 hour days were disrupting my more “normal” life and I had to start to consider the possibilities of doing this full time and making things simpler with a food truck or some systems or getting out before I turned resentful.
I did vision boards, I wrote pro and con lists, I talked to people in and out of the business, I researched food trucks and renting commercial kitchen space and getting an official catering license and so much more. I did this off and on for a good solid year.
Then I got diagnosed with breast cancer.
They say when something like this happens you assess and reassess priorities and functionality and stressors and quality of life. And for me this was true. It was the perfect excuse to step out and step back.
The year before I worked 2 weeks after my hysterectomy and while I didn’t necessarily do any damage I certainly did not allow for my body to fully heal to the best of its ability, nor did I reduce stress by taking that on. I worked 2 projects post surgery-both with a lot of lifting help from others but it was too much, too soon.
This time around I knew I needed to fully step away to recover and heal but also to visualize what kind of life I wanted post cancer.
See I was super lucky and I knew there would be a post cancer part of my life. In fact I fully believe I got diagnosed so early on as a warning-stop and really look at who you are and what you want-this is your wake up call.
But you know what made me really realize I could no longer do film catering? It was that I had fallen out of love with food. I had fallen out of love with menu planning and I didn’t like cooking at home for weeks before and after a project which sometimes meant I didn’t enjoy cooking for 6 weeks at a time. My soul and our bodies were suffering from this neglect.
For me to not enjoy cooking for longer than a week was unheard of. And just like that I knew.
I wanted my kitchen back. I wanted to not have snacky bits all over the place so I was tempted to eat potato chips and candy instead of a real meal. I was sick to death of hummus and if I never had it again it would be too soon. I hated the look on my partners face when he opened the fridge and didn’t know what he could eat.
But mostly, I wanted to be in love with food again.
My third Thursday dinner club was starting to rekindle that love affair, but even that was starting to become a chore.
So I took my frustration and confusion and sadness to the garden, which is where many of my problems get solved, and I grieved. I was sad for the joy I had at finding a career I was good at and successful enough that people were self referring and I didn’t have to work at getting the next job, sad that this wasn’t enough to fulfill and sustain me financially or emotionally. I was sad that I couldn’t just let it be enough and that meant I had to actually do the work of figuring out what I actually did want and god damn it I was fucking tired and I just wanted a purpose and for once I had a fucking job people sort of understood and accepted.
“people understood and accepted”
And there it is. My arch nemesis… I just want to be normal. I just want to fit in.
But the truth is I am far from normal. I believe food is the ultimate medicine. I believe our bodies are far smarter and more capable than we can even begin to imagine, I talk to faeries and I want to spend hours alternating between the garden and the painting studio and fiddling on house projects, I love to wash every surface in the house with water consecrated with herbs and potions to protect all who enter and live here and I do most of this without even realizing I am doing it.
I can’t spend my days cooking food for film sets, but I am now beginning to understand why those meals made such a huge impact. Because when I first started they were infused with magic. And as I progressed and got more busy the magic dissipated, and while it never ran out all the way it cost me more physically to keep it up as I couldn’t recharge myself-I never had time or energy to do these magical rituals of eating beautiful food, gardening and washing walls that renews and reinvigorates me.
So I’m currently saying no to film projects left and right. And I’m falling back in love with food. But mostly I’m falling back in love with me. And I’m rearranging the house and dreaming big dreams and washing the walls of my house with lavender, Florida water and many whispered blessing of vigor and strength and healing.
The top row of images is a kitchen on the set of Brides To Be, my Costco cart for a project $750 or so, and me getting caught chopping things in a corner of set. The middle row are various crafty trays and the storage space required for catering shite. The bottom row of images is me coming back into me- complete with a bounty of berries, fresh edible flowers from the garden and Chai kitten, and vision board images to dream into.
P.S. I’m not done with catering but I now have very specific requirements. There must be a kitchen so I don’t have to use my own and we must be pretty contained in that I don’t have to move locations. If this falls within parameters of your project, film or retreat then feel free to contact me.