Solace in Sustenance

I woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. I stomped to the shower, scrubbed my scalp raw while grumbling about how decent people don’t get up before the sunrise everyday and glowered at my red, dampened reflection in the mirror. Tempted to drape myself in black, I donned a pink cashmere turtleneck at the last second in an attempt to cheer myself up.
It didn’t take.

I got to work, slammed a few drawers, stomped around haphazardly for a while and tossed some papers on my desk. I wandered into my co-worker’s office and snarled "I’m in an awful mood today". And turned to go. I hadn’t been looking for justification or for encouragement or even a bright response. I had just needed to tell someone that today was not going to be my day.

Apparently this week is one of the most depressing of the entire year (how is it that we are already depressed when the year has hardly begun??). Something about how winter is still looming infinitely in front of us, we’ve already failed our New Year’s resolutions and Christmas debts are piling up.

I think for me it has more to do with the fact that I get up long before the sun has breached the horizon and don’t tend to get home from work until it has sunk beyond the horizon. I forget what it feels like to feel the sun on my cheeks and how it feels to need to wear the sunglasses that have hibernated at the bottom of my bag.

So I try to cook "sunlight" into my foods. I cook with fruits and vegetables that remind me of the warmer days of spring, summer and even the early fall. Apples, peaches, pears, berries all play featured roles in my desserts while squash, vine-ripened and sun-dried tomatoes and roasted corn headline in my main courses. I think eating fresh fruits and vegetables helps me keep my head from clouding over when the forecast calls for frigid temperatures and little or no sun.

After eating one piece of this apple coffee cake I felt much better. It cheered me up, filled up my stomach and set my brain on the right track for the rest of the day.