day 72. This gratitude practice began as a daily thing, and although it’s not been so consecutive recently I still plan to get myself to that mark. And todays gratitude is for food, for cooking, and all that encompasses. Cooking is my refuge. It’s how I transport myself back to different places, different times. Chopping vegetables is my meditation, kneading dough my therapy. When I’m unsure or uncertain, lost or stressed, when I’m elated or when I’m relaxed, I slip on some headphones, pick some music and I cook. The sharp smell of brown onion and the sensation of a sharp knife gliding through the crisp flesh takes me back to cooking school – a talent I’m so grateful to have now for life. The floury dough softening under palm transports me to four am starts and stainless steel pastry kitchen benches just as much as it takes me to rainy autumn days in the south of England bonding over shared recipes for caraway rye loaves and drinking bottomless cups of tea. I travel in large part for the food, to experience the ways different cultures delight in their culinary heritage and to experience the flavours of each place I stop, and then when I stop, even for a moment, I cook to bring back those memories, those fragrances and those flavours. Some of my fondest travel memories are the smells that never fail to transport me.. freshly ground masa, keffir lime leaves, Marrakech spice markets, tomato vines, Freshly picked Saffron, Southern French truffles, Nepalese Momo stands and Rajasthani curry houses, tiny Chinese bao holes in the wall at daybreak. When those onions start caramelising and the kitchen fills with sticky, candied sweetness – when the yeast foams and the dough takes shape in my hands, with the right care eventually transforming into bread – all of that alchemy removes me from whatever is on my mind and reminds me why this is so important. Today I’m grateful for food, for flavours, for shared knowledge and the downtime to spend baking bread – one of my first food loves. To remind me to be patient, to be still, with my thoughts & to enjoy the stillness and the quiet moments while all the rest of the plans fall into place.