Today’s entry comes from Kris Osborne of 80twenty. It originally appeared, in longer form and with a recipe, in her August 8 post about writing, and I liked what she had to say so much, I asked if we could reprint the first part of it here. If you aren’t already familiar with Kris and her blog, she pursues studies in naturopathic medicine and named her blog for the 80/20 principle of eating highly nutrient-dense, healing foods 80% of the time and not worrying about the other 20%. I like that.
Writing feels challenging right now. There’s so much to say, and yet this space feels too vast to say it in, like the words will just float away and disappear, leaving me empty. I also know though that if held too close, words can have a way of imprinting themselves on me. Everything feels uprooted—much of it good (trust), but too much uprooting and a girl can start to lose her balance. So I try to write to ground myself.
The words on this page come out sputtering like a lump in my throat. Thoughts whirl through my head: I can’t say that, it’s not the time, I don’t even know where to begin… And there I am walking the balance beam, all the while being thrown balls of fire and rings to catch, arms reaching out, trying to hold my core strong so I don’t fall. The fire is hot, the rings slippery, and some days putting one foot in front of the other can be difficult when you don’t know where it’s going to lead you. I’m trying to trust the process.
I turn to baking to ground myself. It’s an act that brings me into my body. I buy fresh Ontario peaches and contemplate a pie. I chop pistachios for biscotti. I whirl white beans in the food processor with maple syrup and almond butter for a healthified blondie of sorts. I nest further into myself seeking answers through the rhythmic mixing of dough, the precise measuring of ingredients, and the organic creation of something beautiful. Baking is like a miracle to me. I see ingredients turn from individual pieces into a beautiful whole. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, I hear Dr. Facca’s voice repeating in first-year chemistry class. It is. It always is.
[I made granola] out of a need to create something beautiful and concrete—to smell the sweetness as it permeated into my clothes, to feel the heat of the oven warm my kitchen, to watch the oats brown and transform, and to taste their crispy edges. I put coffee in the mix because coffee, ironically, reminds me to slow down and ease into the morning. It was an experiment, made with love, but it turned out so wonderfully that I had to share it [here]. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Editor’s Note: Thanks, Kris, for letting us repost part of your thoughts in our Writer Chats series!
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.