My first home was the kitchen. As an introverted child with a large capacity for self-doubt, I found solace and escape in leafing through my mother’s handmade recipe catalog, and our never used “Cooking of California” cookbook. This led to bargaining with my parents for designated alone time in the kitchen, where I could experiment and create.
The experience of cooking, the alchemy of it, along with the mental process of pulling a dish together from repetition, heritage, and instinct, connected me to a peaceful part of myself. It was something altogether different than the self-soothing I experienced with sweets and butter. (This was also happening.) Nonetheless, the cooking itself created a meditative zone for me. This, plus the promise of a nourishing, delicious final dish, was a comfort I mainly experienced inside the kitchen.
I lost that part of myself when I started medical training. Studying, hospital night call, and eventually private Rheumatology practice, took over my life. Just carving out time to eat became a challenge, and what started out as grabbing food off the nurses’ stations, developed into a practice of stifling hunger (and anxiety) with restaurant meals and takeout. And, as though prophesied by the central position of the pills cups on hospital food trays, my medical training revolved solely around pharmaceutical based interventions. There was no discussion of nutrition, food choices, or food preparation.
Fast forward twenty years, and what is clear to me now is that eating, similar to art, is personal. Addressing it requires not only a knowledge of evidence based medicine, but also many things that they don’t teach you in medical school, like how to make a good miso dressing, which pans have BPA coatings, and the art of food shopping. And once the global pandemic rooted me back home, I rediscovered how self-cooked food made me feel-connected to nourished part of myself. That awareness became a road to a better state of my own baseline health. As I rediscovered the creation of meals that really comfort the body-not just momentarily redirect the mind- my good friend and colleague Dr. Hurwitz approached me, and we started this blog.
Here at Kitchen-Prescription, we believe that Food is Medicine, and we are here to explain how to make it work for you, regardless of your state of health, eating pattern, or current knowledge of cooking. Jill Weintraub Landis, MD