Career · Life · Relationship · stephnotchef

A year in the life

It feels like I’ve hit some pretty big milestones in a few key areas lately. I get all nostalgic in the fall, and I can’t help but compare where I am now with where I was a year ago—and luckily I’ve got the receipts in handy blog form.

For one, I was everyone’s favourite single storyteller. Still going on dates, getting my hopes up, being stood up, entertaining you fools, all the good stuff. Bogart and I started talking just before Halloween and we had not yet had our accidental threesome. If you had told me a year ago that I would meet someone, move in with them, and host a joint Thanksgiving for our families in under a year, I would’ve laughed and told you to drink another bottle of wine. Yet, here I am. Err, here we are. That’s a thing.

Career-wise, I was busy but without any real purpose. My day job was in a weird place and I had a ‘hobby’ working at a big tech company evenings and weekends. I enjoyed it, but by the time the holidays were over I was starting to burn out. I tried to be that girl who didn’t let a new relationship change her, but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I wanted to spend my free time with le bf instead of  the screaming masses at the mall. Sue me. Now things have turned around at the day job, and I have another ‘hobby’ writing and editing content in an area I’m super passionate about. Still busy, but with direction, meaning, and the ability to work from home after making dinner with Bogart.

My dinners (and breakfasts, lunches, and snacks) have also received a major upgrade. Honestly, the catalyst for this post came from a kitchen experiment earlier this week: chocolate hummus. Chocolate fucking hummus! That I made! And ate! And loved! My cooking has improved by leaps and bounds, and in the past year the more time I’ve spent in the kitchen, the more I’ve loved it.

The chocolate hummus signifies a few things to me. First, I made it without a recipe. Sure, I still use cookbooks that I love, but I’m confident enough (with Bogart’s encouragement) to deviate or even wing it without worrying about a repeat of the All-Garlic Stir Fry or the Cake That Would Not Be. I adopted the #stephnotchef hashtag as a play on Steph Not Stephanie, but also as a jokey defence mechanism in case I set things on fire (spoiler alert: I did). But along the way, I learned from each fuck up and my food went from ‘Well, it’s not great but it won’t kill me,’ to being featured in the National Post’s food roundup.

gastropost

The chocolate hummus also represents a relative truce with my body. I’ve inhabited this body in various shapes and sizes and been variously happy and unhappy with it. I lost 60lbs by not eating anything delicious (seriously, I didn’t even have cake at one of my best friend’s engagement party) for about a year. Then it found me again when I ate 99% processed ‘food’ and didn’t take/make the time to think about what I was putting in my body other than that it didn’t have a mother or a face. I have found a happy medium (I think), where food is neither good nor bad, where I eat things that make me feel nourished physically and emotionally, where I put more time and effort into making things that taste good and leave me feeling good instead of lethargic and depressed. It doesn’t mean I’ll never have cake again—but I don’t plan on having cake for dinner again anytime soon.

And it's fucking delicious.
Also it’s fucking delicious.

Finally, hummus in my mind is a very vegan food. I went to a vegan potluck and I shit you not, there were four kinds of hummus and six bags of Oreos. Hummus is to veggie peeps what bacon is to omnivores—we put that shit on everything. I’ve been vegetarian for over four years now, and I had an experimental ‘vegan at home’ phase. It didn’t last, something I think at least partially had to do with my limited kitchen skills. Now that I make things like chocolate goddamn hummus and large amounts of dairy make me feel like hot garbage, I’ve been contemplating re-visiting the vegan side of things. It wouldn’t be that hard to switch, since 90% of my cooking is already vegan and I get the few eggs I eat from backyard chickens named Sunny and Scrambled. Right now I’m content to stick to the vegetarian label because I don’t need other people policing my food if I do decide to have cheese or maintain my relationship with those chickens (you know who you are), but it’s definitely on my mind. Oh, and Bogart neither cares nor gets a vote, before you ask.

So here we are, with a relationship, a passion for food, and purpose in my career but no more hilarious dating stories. I guess I’ll have to eventually cede my title as the Toronto dating blog keyword search champion, but maybe by then I’ll be everyone’s favourite #stephnotchef instead.

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