Purring with satisfaction

October is my favorite month. Somewhere beneath the Halloween hubbub whispers the promise of holidays and snowpeople. From goblins and witch hats to menorahs and Christmas trees, the celebrations are upon us. October is to the holidays what Thursday is to the weekend: the start of something great.

The cats seem to sense my excitement. Give them a warm autumn afternoon and they run to their outdoor enclosure like children at recess. They sniff at the fallen leaves, then play tag and jump into crunchy piles. Orson catches his breath with frequent catnip breaks while Olive and Oskar line the fence to watch our neighbors raking. The cats roll contentedly in the waning rays of sunshine and I swear I can hear a chorus of purring.

Whether it is playing in the leaves or writing a decent story, there is a contented exhaustion that comes from working hard at something you love. October brought me a heavy dose of that feeling, and I can tell you that exhaustion that comes from satisfaction is a better high than anything John Denver ever sang about.

It began with a lecture and cooking classes to kickoff the American Swedish Institute's Nordic Table Food Programming. I spoke about how to bring a New Nordic philosophy into Midwestern kitchens. We are continuing that conversation in cooking classes where this past weekend we made Swedish tacos with pulled pork, rye flatbread, and quick-pickled slaw. Last week I also spoke to a group of food writers, scientists, and chefs about New Nordic cuisine. They are a uniquely supportive group of women who welcomed me and were interested in what I had to say. Afterwards I told T, "I think I've found my people."

Whenever I am given opportunities to do the work I love, I worry how long it will last. There is a feast or famine flow to freelance work. This time around I am trying to just be content in my exhaustion and live in the moment. For now, everyone our house is purring with satisfaction. 


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