Create Space For The Happy Stuff!
This cookbook is crammed full of new and innovative ways, hints and tips, designed specifically for people with chronic pain and mental health conditions, by me, a fellow sufferer.
It is all to help you WANT to cook, not have to!
Cooking really can be a therapy. Cooking really can ignite your passions. Cooking really is possible!
If you are having a bad day, I want to make it better. If you are having a better day, I want to make it good. If you are having a good day, I want to make it great. If you are having a great day, good on you!
What is your favourite thing about this book? This is a self-published book from someone who has never done anything like this before. So, my favourite thing about this book is……this book!
Honestly it is just mind blowing that this is now in print and available for people to get themselves and, hopefully, start to change a few lives in the process.
I absolutely love the title of the book ‘Cookfulness’! I have to thank my wife for this as she came up with it very early on. It just sums it all up, cooking as a therapy, simple as.
I am most proud though of all of the Hints & Tips, recipe structures and approaches, that are all designed specifically for people who suffer from chronic pain and associated mental health conditions. Chronic pain is such a misunderstood area, even sometimes within the medical professions, and so suffering with these is absolutely devastating for you and also those around you.
I got help, from my amazing family and also the incredible team at the NHS Centre for Pain Services in Bath, to see there was a way forwards, to see what I really did value most in life. The hard part then was how on earth to get there. Cooking was and still is my way of doing something that myself and my family can be proud of.
All of the Hints & Tips, the ways I have set recipes out, are all, as far as I can see, brand new and designed to help fellow sufferers and their families realise a dream of getting back some passion, some drive, some emotion and some togetherness in their lives, really being able to have a go at cooking and harnessing the incredible power the art of cooking can have.
What is your favourite drink to consume? A cup of tea!! I know, not very rock and roll but I love a tea or a coffee. Drinks you can have first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and anywhere in between!
Hot or cold (still trying to get used to the cold ones!) and just gives you a big hug every time, plus you don’t get a hangover! What other drinks can you dunk biscuits into?!
When I am not feeling so good, which let’s be honest is a lot of the time, a cup of tea is a great way to try and focus on the here and now.
I love good old fashioned, straight forward tea, but my favourite other type is Rooibos tea from South Africa. I was extremely lucky to be able to travel to South Africa when I was still able to work, the loveliest people and the loveliest country. The tea is magnificent!
I don’t drink alcohol any more. Medication mixes aren’t that great, plus a hangover with chronic pain is really not worth contemplating!
What is your favourite food to cook? All day long it is food for my family. Anything that we can all sit down and eat together is the greatest feeling in the world. Listening to everyone’s days, trials and tribulations over food I’ve made is brilliant, especially when that is something you have missed so long due to illness.
Probably my favourite style of food, or the most frequent I make, is Italian. There are so many different pasta dishes, dips, salads, breads, vegetarian and naughty desserts, and they are usually always resulting in a happy family! I just love the simplicity but also how just a few strong ingredients, herbs or oils for instance, can instantly transform something from the mundane to Italy’s finest! Well, my version anyway!
With so many different shapes of pasta, even exactly the same dishes can be transformed to look and feel different.
Onion, garlic, ginger and chilli are my go to starters for a lot of dishes, which you will see in the book! They can be the base for bologneses, lasagnes, pizzas, you name it and will give a bit of zing and flavour to anything. Basil, oregano, coriander, rosemary, my favourite herbs as they can go into pretty much anything!
Italy has great family traditions with food and togetherness, which is why their food appeals to me so much.
How did you research your book? This was real life! Being a sufferer of chronic fibromyalgia, arthritis and associated mental health conditions, meant I slowly but surely disappeared down a very deep hole, seemingly unable to get out. It was cooking, and what cooking could lead to, i.e. a chance to be a part of my family’s lives again, that is leading the way in my life now.
However, when I first started having a go, I very quickly realised that it was incredibly difficult. Not just because my mind and body were screaming at me to stop and go to bed, but I couldn’t hold a knife, let alone chop, I couldn’t lift hot pans, I couldn’t stand unaided for any length of time at a work top needing aides for balance and support. Also, I had lost my ability to just naturally make dishes up, improvise, so I reverted to recipe books.
Unfortunately, these led to more problems as the lovely pictures of end dishes immediately put me off (“there is no way I can make that….”), the recipes seemed all jumbled up, I was getting through some of them, finding I didn’t have or couldn’t find a utensil I suddenly needed, and went into a tailspin, giving up.
Timings in books also meant mostly nothing as, every day you feel different, sometimes really, really bad, sometimes just bad, but no cookbooks took any account of this in times given to do things. A 30-min prep and 30 min cook was 2 hours plus for me!
I searched everywhere for a cookbook to help people like me, chronic pain sufferers, in how to get over that hurdle of just being able to cook, and just could not find a thing!
How could I help others by using my own experiences, showing that cooking really was possible and it could be a real part of therapy to an improved quality of life?
So, Cookfulness was born!
Aside from cooking, what do you like to do in your spare time? Cooking is a really big part of my life, partly because I love it, and partly because it takes me so much longer than ‘normal’ due to my conditions! So, there is not a great deal of room left!
However, I love to spend time with my family, making new memories, particularly after missing so many of their memories due to ill health over the years.
We love to go to the cinema, and with a 7 year old and 15 year old, it makes for interesting choices each time!
We live in the South Coast New Forest area so taking the dog out and going into the woods or along the shores is fantastic. Obviously, I can’t do this all the time and am careful about where we go, but with a bit of planning it can make even the slowest of strolls memorable.
I love watching cooking programmes! Sunday Brunch is my all-time favourite show on TV. Great food, great hosts, great guests, great music, what’s not to love!
I love to watch rugby and football. I am a Southampton supporter in football, which always makes for nerve jangling times.
Music is a real passion of mine. I used to play drums in bands in my younger days which, due to my hands, arms and legs now, I can’t do any more. ‘80’s music is my go to “Cookfulness” playlist, and Prince my all time favourite musician. I love all types of music though, but am very careful to listen to music with happy memories or uplifting, and not the ones with bad associations of the past or demoralising lyrics! Music, singing, cooking, I do this all the time!
I have, in the last 18 months, discovered a real passion for poetry, writing poetry. I have now written literally hundreds of poems about living with chronic pain, the ups, the downs, the laughs, the crying, everything. A few have made it into my book!
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing Publication Date: 29th October 2020 Format: Paperback Pages: 150 Genre: Non-Fiction Age: Adult Reviewer: Blue Source: N/A