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ZAK: singing: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas or Hanukah or Kwanza, but not really because this year is so weird and doesn't feel like any other year.
ABRA: My name is Abra Berens and I am a chef and cookbook author based in Three Oaks, Michigan.
ZAK: The holidays are coming up and they're gonna be very different from a what a lot of us were hoping for or expecting. So, what do you have in mind for how we can think about cooking for the holidays?
ABRA:The beauty of holiday food is that it is...there's so many traditions and there's so many things that signal the holidays. Or like, what is the dish where it's not Thanksgiving without that dish there. But now that holidays are all wonky because of this terrible virus, if you find yourself trying to fulfill a pre-conceived notion of what it's supposed to be, just stop. And think about what you actually want to eat. And make that instead. You know, so if it's like, well we always make crown roast or we always make this thing, maybe you can just stop and think, well, everything is off the table this year, so what do you actually want to eat? And then let that be your guiding force.
ZAK: You're talking about kind of detaching from expectations and like, being ok with the moment.
ABRA: And yeah, what did we all have to read Art of War in the 8th grade or something. It's sort of like Art of War-ing your menu or your life, I guess. Like, instead of facing the thing head-on, can you just side-step it?
ZAK:I mean I love that and I think for people that aren't chefs, we're sometimes overwhelmed with like, what do I want? What do I actually want? Do you have thoughts on how to figure out what we want?
ABRA: I mean I think slowing down is probably the best thing. Sometimes I'll just open the fridge and be like, well, there's some carrots. There's some red cabbage, uh what else do I go? And I'll literally just take a bite of carrot and just slow down and think, what other flavors come to mind when chewing on that piece of carrot and then I'll just make those. So if I'm eating a carrot and I want something spicy, then I'll just a chili-oil with it or some kind of spicy pepper or if I want something even sweeter, maybe I would roast them with maple syrup, you know, the way you would sweet potatoes or whatever. So, I think that you can do some of that sort of thinking.
ZAK: chewing. Hmmm. Carrots. Abra Berens book is Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables. As always, I really want to hear your food-related advice. Give me a call on the hotline, 844-935-BEST. And if you're enjoying this show, please consider rating and reviewing on Apple Podcast. Thanks!