Browsing Tag

chef

Eating/Food, emotions, Guest Posts

American Chop Suey

February 4, 2018
chef

By Kimberly Wetherell

The name alone mortifies me. American Chop Suey. It’s the name my mother gave to her signature dish, the supper we ate at least twice a week every week for as long as I can remember throughout my formative years. What Julia Child did with beef, bacon, onions and mushrooms, my mother did with elbow macaroni, browned ground chuck, Prego (It’s in there!) spaghetti sauce, and a sprinkling of her “secret blend” of spices; very likely nothing more than dried oregano, parsley, and basil. It’s that sprinkling of the secret spices that made her a chef, she told us. That quip was something I mocked her for to my professional chef friends when describing how pathetic my mother’s cooking was, and how it drove me to learn how to cook properly and eventually become a professional chef myself.

I’m not a professional chef anymore, though. I opened my own restaurant in Brooklyn three and a half years ago, and three years ago tonight (as I write this), I was reviewing my year-end books. I could see that we had been hemorrhaging money and that by the end of February 2015, our doors would be forced to close unless a miracle happened. It didn’t. I was a solo entrepreneur and I had sunk my life savings into the venture, which included leveraging my tony Park Slope brownstone apartment for the business loan, and I lost everything. As soon as I could, I left Brooklyn behind for the warmer climes of St. Petersburg, Florida and I spent two years there in an attempt to recover. Continue Reading…

beauty, Binders, Guest Posts, Humor, Owning It!, Self Love

The Other Plastic Surgery.

February 16, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Sara Bir. 

There’s a face I’m sick of seeing, and it’s not the rearranged mess of a scandalized Hollywood star. It’s a face I confront in every reflective surface—the bathroom mirror, the screen of my smartphone if I tilt it just so. Perhaps this face may even appear superimposed on that of a celebrity of a certain age, if I pause while zipping along through my Facebook feed.

“What the heck happened?” I think in shock, every single time, because the face glaring back at me does not match my memory of what my face looks like. The skin at the corners of eyelids and lips is creased, slack; the purplish sacks under the eyes are increasingly puffy and swollen, almost like bruises. My nose, which has always been large, is gleefully launching into a mid-life growth spurt, veering off-center to one side and becoming bulbous and shiny, like Santa’s.

This is the other plastic surgery. It’s the kind that rearranges your face in totally unexpected ways. This surgeon of mine should be taken to court, I grumble, but I didn’t hire him. Or is it her? Perhaps they work as a husband-wife team, the practice of Mother Nature and Father Time. They are certainly not exclusive; in fact, it’s impossible not to get a referral. And they’re quite generous with appointments, happy to work your countenance over again and again. They really don’t make any compromises, those two. Try as you might, these practitioners will always be in your health network.

 

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that's it! Summer or Fall 2015.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that’s it! Summer or Fall 2015.

 

The handiwork of Drs. M. Nature and F. Time is understandably a concern for anyone whose career demands fresh, fussed-over faces. Thank god I’m not a glamorous media figure, because even without a long, expensive vacation to Camp Nip’n’Tuck, the shifting topography of my head is, to me, as startling as Renée’s, or Madonna’s, or Kenny’s, or Nicole’s.

That’s because the face I unfailingly expect to greet me from a mirror is perhaps circa 1999, or maybe 2004, or maybe not from any specific era of my life except an idealized past. Who knows what I’m idealizing, because, at a still-spry 38 years, inside I feel more confident and sorted-out than I ever did when my skin cells still had snappy elasticity. After a few seconds adjusting to the very human lady blinking back at me in those oh-so-unbeautiful morning minutes after rustling out of bed, I just sigh and call a truce.

I went to my husband for a sympathetic ear, and also to gauge the waters of our marital relations. Alas, my vigilant team of plastic surgeons also did a number on my breasts and abdomen. The stomach is quite fit if I flex it, something I only do if I’m scrutinizing my profile under the unflattering florescent lights of a dressing room. Otherwise, the unflexed tummy flesh and skin are rubbery and malleable, like Silly Putty. As for my breasts, once I stopped nursing my young daughter, they vanished; my cup size is essentially –AA. This is the one session with Mother Nature and Father Time that’s made me feel youthful, because now the only place I can find bras that fit is in the little girl’s section at Target.

Still, men like boobs. One evening, at bedtime, I worked up enough courage to ask my husband, “Are you still attracted to me even though I’m so different now?”

“What?” he said, distracted. I’d disturbed the constant, anxious reverie about his receding hairline. As if he has time to think about where my boobs went! Isn’t that what internet pornography is for?

So I dropped it. In fact, no one seems to notice the havoc my plastic surgeons have wreaked on my face. Sometimes, if I go months without running into a friend, they’ll even say, “You look great!” And I, in turn, am pleased seeing their glowing, radiant selves, and I don’t even think about scrutinizing their expanding pores or multiplying crow’s feet. Maybe that’s because their faces are not stretched in high definition across a television that spans an entire wall in our living room. Maybe because the energy inside someone when you see them in person has so much to do with how you perceive the physicality of that face.

While trapped in the snaking line of the express checkout at the grocery store yesterday, the cover of a Prevention magazine caught my eye. “Stop aging!” the headline blared. I’ve flirted with capsules, lotions, and masks, and I can vouch that it’s not humanly possible cease the steady march of the Other Plastic Surgery. We all know there’s really only one way to stop aging, and that’s to die. I’d rather keep on living, with this ever-dynamic face. I found it looks years younger when I don’t scowl at the mirror.

 

servicesSara Bir is a chef, food writer, and usually confident parent living in Ohio. Her essay “Smelted”, from the website Full Grown People, appears in Best Food Writing 2014. You can read Sara’s blog, The Sausagetarian, at www.sausagetarian.com. This is her second essay on The Manifest-Station.

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body? To get into your words and stories?  Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.  "So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff's Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing." ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body?
To get into your words and stories? Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.
“So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff’s Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing.” ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Featured image courtesy of Timothy Krause.

Guest Posts, motherhood, parenting

That Mom.

November 20, 2014


beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black
By Sara Bir.

Oh, great. Here she comes. That mom. You know the one, the mom who only shows up to half the parent nights? The one whose kid made a huge scene at the free folk music concert? She’s so the mom who makes a point of exposing her kid to everything. I can’t stand that mom.

Except I’m that mom.

I’m the mom whose kid constantly has a crust of something on her face, dried snot or avocado or spaghetti sauce. I’m the mom who uses the eco-friendly laundry detergent that never gets stains out, even though I scrub at them with a bar of Fels- Naptha, so my kid always has faint outlines of grease or finger paint or god knows what on her clothes. I am the mom you refuse hand-me-downs from.

I am the mom who never seems to have baby wipes when wipes are needed, the mom who forgot the extra socks or the raincoat at home. I am the mom who counts on your wipes, your extra socks.

I am the mom who blithely brings her kid to the restaurant, and then looks horrified when her kid spills milk, screams for no reason, flails in the booth, and eats like a heathen. I am the mom whose own meal, which she was so glad not to have to prepare, is ruined when she threatens her child with leaving the restaurant right then, but of course we don’t, because I am the mom who will eat her goddamn food while it’s hot.

Continue Reading…

Eating/Food, Guest Posts

The Mind Body Connection…Is It Real ? By Caspar Poyck

December 8, 2011

Happy Thurday my Dear Manifesters! The fact that Manifestation Station has a guest post by the Renaissance Man himself makes me giddy with delight. Caspar Poyck is truly one of the great Renaissance men of our time. He is an artist, through and through. I first met him on a retreat I attended a few years back where he was the chef. Immediately I decided that I would lead my own retreats there ( 2 years later and I have done 6 up there in Ojai and none without Caspar.) I would not DREAM of hosting a Manifestation Retreat without this guy. When you read the following post you will see why he is such a fixture at my retreats. He hosts cooking classes during my retreats and the laughter that comes from the kitchen literally makes the house shake. Plus, he is easy on the eyes and is an amazing musician. Seriously? Yes, seriously. 

 

The Mind Body Connection…Is It Real ? by Caspar Poyck

What do you think ?

It seems to be in children’s nature to know it until nurture tells them otherwise. Shamanistic traditions, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, etc. know it. Yoga is built on its foundation.

Harvard Medical School, through Mass General, runs the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine and many other leading medical schools are getting more active in this field.

Is it mysticism or science ? What is this about and what does it look like ? —–

Let’s talk, for instance, about a silent killer of our time and disease of prosperity:

Stress !

It is now commonly recognized by even the staunchest medical doctors that stress is tied to suppressed immune response, the healing of damaged tissue, inflammation, heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease and allergies (including, but not limited to food allergies), etc. How does this happen ?

Some of the body’s changes caused by experiences in the mind like stress, fear and anxiety are:

Tightness of muscles

Shallow breath

Increased heart-rate

Higher blood pressure

Reduced immune response

Secretion of stress hormones incl. Cortisol

Impaired digestion

Impaired elimination Etc.

Stress is supposed to be a temporary state, but how many of us experience stress perpetually ? Imagine the long-term effects of a body under those conditions listed!

Yoga, meditation, prayer, Tai Chi, hypnosis et.al. are very effective in reducing these symptoms by calming our mind, reducing stress and exercising the body.This is why I founded “Consciously Culinary” and “What Makes You Eat?”

As a wholefood-organic chef, son of yoga teachers and licensed hypnotherapist specializing in the connections between the body and mind I came to realize that

HOW we eat may be more important than WHAT we eat !

Am I saying that WHAT we eat is not important ?

Of course not.

What I AM saying is that once we have developed a more aware relationship with food for some and one free of preconceived ideas, free of guilt or trauma, free of obsession for others, then making healthy choices about WHAT to eat will come automatically !

You don’t need the preaching of a food-guru, the study of an impressive diet or a guilt- trip to tell you that a plump, organic heirloom tomato is better than a mealy, pink GMO tomato.

Diets, systems of thinking about food and nutritional fads often have interesting things to consider, new knowledge to reflect on and valuable insights to check in with. They can also lead to obsession (orthorexia nervosa), guilt and judgment.

It is through conscious sensing, keeping a diary, happy cooking and fun-filled eating that we can find which elements of these teachings work for us and which don’t.

We are each unique individuals who go through lots of phases in our lives. A young “you” needed different food than the “you” of today, a happy “you” needs different fuels than a depressed “you”, in summer time you don’t need the same vitamins and amount of calories than in winter, etc.

Is it possible to have one diet that is the answer for everyone for every time ? If so, there would be one definitive book on the subject, instead of a new one every 6 months to rise to the top of the bestsellers lists.

Through some honest introspection and a love for the sensual experience, you will automatically be drawn to better food and become your own guru.

Instead of treating food and eating like a dogmatic religion, Consciously Culinary is a path: the Tao of cooking and eating if you will.

Next time:

Ever heard of Emotional Eating ? Comfort Food ? When checking in we need to know we’re not reading from our emotional appetite, but from our body’s appetite and needs. What Makes You Eat ?

—–

Caspar Poyck C.Ht. offers catering for retreats by some of the most widely recognized names in yoga and self-development.

He also teaches private and group classes, leads corporate teambuilding events, delivers talks and offers cooking classes and therapy sessions for stress release, anxiety control and allergy management.

To set up a session or to organize a talk, Caspar can be reached at: caspar@whatmakesyoueat.com Ph. +1.805.760.7730 www.whatmakesyoueat.com

Just a head’s up folks. The Manifestation Retreat sells out very quickly. In September we had 42.

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