Under today’s thick cover of low grey clouds we braced ourselves against the damp chill with steamy miso soup — redolent of smoky bonito + rich yellow miso, soft tofu cubes are vibrantly set off by deep green wakame, spinach ribbons + shaved scallion. These bowls are keepers.
Food prepared and shared with others is among the most powerful bonding methods we humans have. And for me, risotto has a special place permanently tattooed onto my heart, connecting to memorable moments throughout my adult life.
+ Somewhere between poring over mountains of thesis research + the cooking/baking/espresso drinking/solitary rambles through southwest Minneapolis that otherwise kept my grad school self occupied/sane, an online ping from a friend of friends in high school. The note, in response to a photo of the previous night’s triumphant first risotto, challenged me to a long-distance culinary throwdown. My drawn-out reply was returned in kind, and so it all began.
+ Strolling along the Gulf Coast at daybreak, me snapping photos of shorebirds as an angry ocean roared and the salmon-hued sun rose up from behind billowy clouds. Down on one sandy knee he caught me by surprise, a dainty ring in hand, making me his fiancée. The best surprise, to which we popped a bottle of bubbles for drinking + adding to a crispy prosciutto-topped asparagus risotto.
+ Calm, pleasantly warm and sunny, a few feathery wisps of clouds leading the way down a grassy aisle in the rolling countryside on a fifteen-year Wisconsin day — our wedding. The reception held in a century barn a mix of rustic + elegant, with pumpkins, wheat, cornstalks and gourds as decorations; wine bottled and labeled by his aunt and uncle; the meal, three different risottos, prepared in front by our groomsmen, dads, uncles + new brothers-in-law as speeches were made, more bubbly was toasted, a new married life beginning.
From the first conversation I knew he was something special, and had a feeling we’d be together, making risotto — this, the fateful recipe — for many years to come.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
This post is part of the series Nutrient Spotlight... meant to explore the what, why, where, and how of important dietary players, with some culinary inspiration to get you started.
For the first HGN post of 2018, let’s give vitamin D the Nutrient Spotlight.
What is it? // Why do I need it?
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for proper cell growth, reduction of inflammation, helping nerves carry messages between the brain + every part of your body, and aiding the immune system in fighting off bacteria + viruses. Adequate vitamin D also helps the body absorb + utilize calcium, and it may play a role in decreasing risk or progression of a variety of chronic conditions, including cancer.
According to the 2005 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, roughly 41% of American adults are deficient. Low levels are linked to suppressed immune health, decreased mental clarity, depression, hypertension, muscle aches + spasms, bone pain, and severe asthma + rickets in children. Low vitamin D also increases risk of type 1 + type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, and several types of autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis + Hashimoto’s disease.
In pregnancy, vitamin D helps the body utilize not only calcium but also phosphorus, and it promotes strong teeth, bones and eyesight for the developing fetus. Maternal deficiency is associated with increased risk of gestational diabetes, and may lead to muscle spasms in the newborn.
Over in what felt like only a few weeks after it began, 2017 was sure in a hurry. Or maybe it was me with one foot out the door, ready, as always, to get on with it + welcome a new, better, year.
If you know me well, slowing down is something I (really) need to improve upon. Home in Wisconsin for Christmas, I held back from work things to better savor all the little moments — imperfect to mundane to magical — happening in the present. Our time with family still passed in a blink, but the tentative first, slower steps were wonderful.
Cedar Creek Settlement, Cedarburg, WI