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Friday, February 6, 2015

Ending and beginning

So my Year of Congee ended on December 31st, and I've been thinking about where to take this blog. Because the thing is, even though we're in the second month of 2015, I'm still eating congee for breakfast, and I still think you should, too.

Bai zhou, kale sauteed with spicy Italian sausage, perfect medium-boiled egg

What did I learn from my year of eating congee for breakfast every day? Well, mainly that I feel a lot clearer, stronger and more effective when my body doesn't have to work really hard to digest its first meal of the day. Also that even though there are an infinite number of ways to prepare congee, I don't get sick of what's become my standby: bai zhou topped with an egg,sauteed kale and Adam's homemade sriracha. Also, I like white rice a lot better than brown rice in congee, and I'm okay with that.

To take along for a long day at the clinic: a jar of bai zhou with egg and greens, and two jars of farro and lentil salad

And also, perhaps most importantly, I've loved, loved, loved writing about something that speaks to health, to food as medicine for the body and soul, to traditional Chinese nutritional therapy, and to the Asian kitchen culture in which I grew up. I've felt so much joy in seeing all of your responses to this blog, and in seeing your responses to the congee you made for yourself.  Championing this humble, healthy, nourishing, elemental food has meant far more to me than I expected when this project began.

So I'm going to keep writing here. I'm going to write mostly about congee, and I'm also going to write about food as medicine in general; about my own approaches to health and the recommendations I make to my patients; and about the food industry, how it fails us and where it helps us. I'm going to write about the food we grow in our backyard and the food we cook in our kitchen. I'm going to tell you about how I manage things like colds and flu and body image and insomnia and being a working mother with a totally rad toddler and a busy little clinic.

Rad toddler dancing on 50 pounds of rice

And I'm going to talk about my parents, whose memory infuses every grain of rice I eat. There's no connection, for me, to food without both of them. For better or for worse, each coriander seed pressed between a mortar and pestle, each delicate sliced ring of scallion, keeps them close to me.

But mostly I'm going to write about congee, because, after all, that's where it all starts. Every morning.

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