Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cooking Therapy


I have felt out of sorts for the last few days. I don't know any word for it other than homesick. I feel like I fit in fine here but there is always that little "something" missing. I love the people here but I have to say that they are so different than what I am used to and I can't put my finger on why. I am from Los Angeles and you would think that I was used to "tough". Tough really isn't the word I am thinking of but there is this edge that I don't have and I am not sure that I understand it around me.

Moving from San Francisco to Massachusetts should have been easy. I was getting away from everyone having a cause and having to be PERFECTLY politically correct. I found that I fit in more with that state of mind rather than a sort of the state of mind that I can't put my finger on. So I have felt sad and misunderstood and just generally feeling sorry for myself (I am allowed).

What do I do when I get this way? Cook. I cook things that remind me of where I came from and things that smell familiar and all of that. So, this morning I pulled out my recipe file from the cabinet. I have had this since the 70's when I got married (the first time). I was a cooking fool back then too. I was really young when I got married and my then husband and I were really into Cajun cooking. As the years went on it just kept morphing. I have to say that most of the recipes in this box are from back then but the one I pulled out this morning was from 1999 (which is when I started dating Dr. Food). I have NO idea where this came from or why I have it. It was out of a GQ magazine. I don't know if someone gave it to me or what.


I read the article for the first time today. It was about the writers socialist grandmother. I had one of those. I just felt that it was some kind of "roots" thing. The article reminded me of family (and I am already homesick so it doesn't take much) and that was good enough for me.


It is just a chocolate cake. I will let you know how it is. I made it for my pals that are going to be visiting me from Portland, Oregon.


Sometimes simple is good. I think that when I am homesick it is the simple that I am craving. That could just be because sometimes it is tiring trying to fit in to a new place and I miss the old place where being me was much easier. So when I am homesick I go do simple things. Today it was visiting a local farm to buy a vegetable for tonights dinner and some farm fresh eggs. I couldn't do this back home but it seems to make me feel better.

Farm fresh eggs


Chard and leeks from the farm


Coffee from the coffee roaster across the way from the farm


Utopian Chocolate Cake
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2 C buttermilk
4 tsp vanilla

Icing 1 box powdered sugar
1 Stick butter
1 tbl milk

Melt chocolate over very low flame. In a large bowl, combine flour; baking soda and salt and set aside. In a separat bowl, beat buttr and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs. Alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk, a third at a time. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 3:50 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. ake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For icing, beat ingredients in food processor until smooth, then frost cake.

FYI....*I* just realized I forgot the vanilla. Seems that this could be the last straw but I am just not going to allow it to be. I will let you know how the cake is. Guests just called and are on their way.


  1. A very comforting cake when things are going a little rough. It's always a transition when moving from one city to another (or coast to coast). Hopefully you'll slowly begin to feel better about it all!

  2. Don't worry -I understand and it's definitely not just you! I also moved to MA about a year ago and have found it much harder to meet people here than anywhere else I've lived! That cake looks like it will help do the trick on a homesick day!

  3. dear janis,

    i'm from korea and my husband is from australia so we are with you ^^ i'm sure that you feel already much better after that chocolate cake.


  4. I moved to the UK from France 8 months ago and just like you it's not easy every day but .. cooking and comford food are your best friends!

  5. moving is never easy and feeling homesick never fun. your chocolate cake looks like the perfect medicine! :)

  6. Feeling homesick can not be easy! I think I'd turn to cooking too. Chocolate cake sounds like the perfect remedy!

  7. Being away from people who understand you is tough. Having lived "away from home," on a different continent, for 18 yeras, I sometimes feel no one really understands me (I'll never prefectly fit in where I live now, and I certainly don't fit in at "home" anymore.)

    Food and cooking truly can be therapy. It can bring back memories and make us feel good, a bit more "at home"...

    I hope the cake is delicious! :)