The strangest thing happened recently. I was resting in child’s pose. My shins pressed against a royal blue mat, my forehead on the earth between my elbows. This is, for the most part, the only pose I can do without shaking or falling or generally just looking awkward – well, that and corpse pose – but for some reason they let me return to vinyasa with them time and time again without hesitation. Yogis are nice that way.
“Set an intention for today’s class, something you want to dedicate the class to, something you want to focus on,” my instructor said to us. This may not seem relevant but I feel like you should know, you know, to help set the scene, that this particular instructor has the best hair. It’s a wispy soft orange, almost starburst-y in color, and it makes me smile every time I walk into her class. She tells us to set an intention at the beginning on this particular day, as she often does. Sometimes I struggle to find the “right” intention in these moments, nothing sparks inside of me, and so I just push my palms into the mat pretending to set one, hoping no one can tell the difference. But that day something spoke to me loud and clear, plain and simple.
My intention is to feel proud of the work I do, no matter the outcome.
It’s too often – and I think this is probably heightened in the world of blogging but I assume it’s something that happens in other professional spheres, too – that the value we assign to our work, and thus our selves, becomes entwined with others’ responses to it. Comments, likes, awards, accolades, press, whatever. Value perceptions based on the external responses coming from our social world. So in that moment, for that hour, I set my intention on removing myself from the markers of recognition, praise, or whatever you want to call it, and instead said this:
“Fuck it. I take pride in what I create. I am content with myself, no matter the outcome.” Or, in the words of my favorite yogi-writer-all-around-general-badass, Jen Pastiloff, “I am enough.” (Read Jen’s I am Enough Manifesto here if you haven’t already, it’s pretty rad.)
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that to you, that this whole feeling enough business is something I have to actively work at. In breath, in wobbly warrior ones, in rope slams, in journals, in conversation, in daily self-dialogue. That I think of my relationship with my work and my self as being kind of like a marriage—if it’s going to last forever, it’s going to need a little daily TLC. I really never intended to share all of this on the interwebs, but maybe you struggle with it too, so I felt like you should know.
But — and here’s where the universe has me like, woahhh, life is weird — I came home from yoga that same exact afternoon, did some things around the house, and when I finally got around to looking at my phone, I had a little email in my inbox that said something to the tune of, “Congrats! You’re a finalist in the SAVEUR food blog awards!”
And here’s the thing. I totally celebrated. I called my mom. I bought myself a few fancy beers to share with my husband that weekend. I danced alone. I smiled. Because I was enough before opening that very exciting email and I was enough after. The most noticeable differences were that I got to drink more expensive beer than I’m usually accustomed to drinking and, related bonus, I burned a few extra calories doing celebratory bedroom booty shakes. But had the cards fallen the other way, as they so often do, I still would have been that. Enough.
Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to nominate this space of mine. I’m over the moon to have been selected as a finalist for the Food and Culture category for my piece, “Hot Tamales // Journey to the Mississippi Delta.” It’s a piece and a dish that, as I told you when I wrote it, is near and dear to my heart. If you feel so inclined, hop over to SAVEUR’s voting page, where you can vote for C+M under the Food and Culture category or vote for any of your other favorite bloggers who were named finalists. It’s a list of bloggers I deeply admire and I am insanely humbled to have C+M’s name appear alongside them.
And while we’re at it, let’s just keep all the sunshine-y happy, positive, summery vibes flowing, with this creamy bucatina, tossed with a peppery nasturtium butter and a whole lot of parmesan, finished off with a few handfuls of salty fried lardons and some slightly-more-orange-than-my-yoga-instructors-hair edible flowers. Like a more floral, bacon-y variation of a cacio e pepe, this is a dish absolutely made for end of summer celebrations and solo dance parties alike.
Thank you again, lovely peeps. Your continued love, time, and support of this space means more than you know.
We are enough. <3
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup of loosely packed nasturtium leaves and flowers, plus more for garnish*
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, or 1 teaspoon of regular or sea salt
- 1 pound of thick-cut bacon, sliced into ¼-wide strips (or lardons)
- 8 ounces of dried bucatina (or spaghetti)
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, for salting water
- olive oil, for tossing
- ½ cup of parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
- freshly ground black pepper to taste, for finishing
- fresh edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
- The day before you’re ready to make the pasta, buzz nasturtium leaves and flowers in a spice grinder or a food processor until very fine. (A Magic Bullet blender, or something similar, also works well for this.) Use your fingertips or a rubber spatula to mix the ground leaves and flowers into the softened butter, along with the kosher salt, combining until incorporated. Place at one end of a piece of a 6-inch piece of wax paper and roll into a log of about 1-inch wide, securing at the ends by twisting. Refrigerate until hardened, about 4 hours or up to 3 days.
- The day off, add lardons to a large heavy-bottomed skillet and fry over medium-high heat until slightly crispy and golden brown. Toss occasionally and reduce heat if you notice them burning. When crispy and golden brown, remove from heat with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a paper towel while you prepare the pasta. (You can also place them in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes and bake until golden brown, just keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn and turn super crunchy!)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and salt to the water and stir vigorously so that the bucatini don’t stick together. (I like to use a chopstick here to agitate them vigorously while they boil.) Cook until al dente, about 7 minutes, and then scoop out about 2 cups of pasta water and set aside. Strain pasta in a colander and toss generously with olive oil so that it doesn’t stick together. Pour drained pasta back into the pot and toss with nasturtium butter, parmesan cheese, and a little bit of the pasta water, adding about ¼-cup of pasta water at a time until pasta is creamy and covered with a thick sauce. (It will absorb some of the water as you toss it, so you’ll have to keep adding until it begins to look creamy. I used about 1 cup here but it will vary depending on just how “al dente” your pasta is.) Add black pepper and lardons and toss again.
- Serve in bowls and garnish with more parmesan and edible flowers of your choosing.