Cooking · Life Lessons · Recommended Books

Podcasts, Cooking, & Journals, Oh My!

Blank page in a journal
Blank journal Photo courtesy of

Podcasts have become my new escape from the endless bad political news coming from CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, or any of the local channels.  I listen to podcasts while I am waiting for my daughter after school, endlessly walking the dogs, or while I’m chopping numerous vegetables and herbs for dinner.  I especially need an escape when I’m chopping an endless sea of vegetables and greens!

The one podcast I consistently turn to when I want to tune out is The Tim Ferriss Show.  It’s the perfect combination of thought-provoking content, real-life relevant education, entertaining guests, and lots of laughter.  I’m certain that I’ve listened to more Tim Ferriss podcasts than any other out there, and for good reason–he gives so much to his listeners, and for free.

Tim Ferriss and his guests have given me lots of actionable ideas–some I have followed through on, and others that simply changed the way I think.

I’m no literary master but that’s ok

Prior to Tim’s podcast and books, I’d read the literary masters’ books and think “I’m not that good.”  Or I’d read a New York Times Bestselling author and think again, “Whoa, I’m not nearly that good either.”  The thoughts about my lack of greatness stopped me in my tracks, and I wouldn’t write for weeks out of fear about not being good enough.

No matter who said I was a decent writer, I didn’t hear the words.  I couldn’t move forward. I was paralyzed by the fear of being judged as ‘less than.’

One of Tim’s books helped me move past that crazy idea.  He assured me that I needed to write like me and that was good enough.  I didn’t have to be John Steinbeck or J.K. Rowling, I just had to be Catherine.  Turns out, if you write like yourself in your own voice, the words flow faster than if you’re trying to write like someone else.

The original message about writing in one’s own voice was hammered into my head via earbuds again yesterday while Tim Ferriss chatted with Samin Nosrat, and I walked my dogs.  I love this interview because Ms. Nosrat is so real, authentic, down-to-earth, and approachable. She is a James Beard award recipient chef, an author of a cookbook and a New York Times column, and has a cooking show on Netflix.  I must admit I’d never heard of her before this podcast but after listening, I am a fan!

That’s a great thing about Tim Ferriss podcasts: I’m introduced to people I would never know to look for.  Some of his guests are very well known like Tony Robbins, but others aren’t widely recognized despite being fascinating like Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

I bought Samin Nosrat’s  cookbook because I need an education in cooking.  I want to know more than I do.  I recently learned one tip about using acid (I’ve been cooking for 25 years as a total amateur), and it’s changed my willingness to make up my own recipes.  That one little tip I learned completely by accident turned an original creation from ho-hum to rave reviews from the family.  My husband even asked me to make it again even though it was made with riced cauliflower.  He hates cauliflower!

With that tiny sliver of education I feel like I was given a tool I didn’t know was missing from my toolbelt.  If that information helped me so much, what other knowlege am I lacking?  Don’t answer that!  LOL.

It’s time for me to learn how to make my cooking even better, and from what I can gather from the Tim Ferriss interview, Ms. Nosrat is going to turn me into a chef with her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.  I’m 99% sure I have never been excited about buying a cookbook, and so excited about it that I might even submit it as a suggestion for book club.

Time to Manifest

One of the very first discussions between Ms. Nosrat and Tim Ferriss  on the podcast was about her use of a Manifestation Journal.  A Manifestation Journal is a journal Samin used to write her goals–but not just goals like: I want to lose 10 lbs this month or I will exercise three times per week.  She used the journal to write her more lofty goals like the desire to create a best-selling and highly regarded cookbook and have her cookbook become a part of the Oprah Show’s book club.  She used the journal for all her pie-in-the-sky ideas.  Nothing was too big to go after.  The journal was one place to put any and all dreams.

At some point in her career, Nosrat went back through her journal and realized she had reached many of her goals.  Some of the goals she wrote down no longer appealed to her and she was glad that they were never achieved.

Ms. Nosrat said that she still writes in her journal but she only looks at what she’s posted a few times each year–once at her birthday and the second time at the New Year.  It’s a quick check-in to make sure she’s still on track, fulfilling her life dreams.

Shooting Blanks

Philadelphia Museum Journal
Manifestation Journal sans the plastic wrap

Samin uses a blank journal to help her manifest her dreams.  I normally prefer journals with lines because I can feel the potential within those lines, but during a recent trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I found a journal with blank pages and a John Singer Sargent painting on the front.  I loved the painting so much that I bought the journal and have been searching for a use.

The journal has been on my nightstand since the end of July with the plastic wrap still on.  Today I ripped that plastic wrap off and I’m going to start my own Manifestation Journal.  I think writing in a journal may help me figure out what I really want to do and what brings me passion more than the physical act of typing.  Putting pen to paper makes me think a little bit harder since it’s far more difficult to erase things I don’t really mean.  It might even reduce the amount of bullshit I can sometimes spew out.

Typing is easy–if I make a mistake or change my mind, I can simply delete the message.  Using my hand to write feels like there might be a stronger connection between my brain and my heart by way of a journal.

Using a Manifestation Journal may help me realize my dreams because it is a more easily accessible medium to use daily.  I once went to a vision board making gathering at a friend’s house and I never finished my vision board after I brought it back home.  It accumulated a lot of dust in the garage and then was probably thrown out prior to the remodel we did.  I’m sure it wasn’t completed due to the sheer annoyance at having to get out all the materials like glue, scissors, magazines, and making space somewhere in the house for its completion.

A portable Manifestation Journal (aka Vision Board) seems like a better choice for me, and I never would have known about this life lesson, nor about a cookbook that could potentially change my cooking abilities, if I didn’t listen to podcasts.  Sure, I could buy yet another self-help book that will collect dust on my shelf, but it’s certainly much faster to get information from successful people, and receiving that information when I have time.

I remember an overly used quote by Calvin Simms, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” and it seems I’m ready when the news of the day is not good, when the dogs need walking, and when the carrots and peppers are taunting me from the cutting board.  At least now, with Samin Nosart’s cookbook on its way, I’ll soon know how to prepare the vegetables to make them the most delectable dish ever.


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