Twice-Roasted Fall Vegetables

It's been roughly a year now since I found sanctuary house and decided to move to Chattanooga, nine months since the move itself, and eight months since I found myself without a job or a husband. I spent the spring readjusting and the summer in a sort of what-to-do limbo, only to realize that I am more than ready to move back to Nashville. I found some new clients and a place to February. And the sensation of waiting to get back to my life there has turned from mild angst to soul-crushing anxiety. 


At times like these I occasionally wish I had a traditional religion. You know, one of those someone-up-there-has-got-your-back/everything-happens-for-a-reason kind of set ups. But what I've got is Beyonce singing with The Dixie Chicks, an uncertified therapy dog who has more anxiety than I do, some cbd oil and a fridge full of leftovers- the neck of a large-ish butternut squash, two small sweet potatoes, and a head of garlic, and a lime, to be exact.

How do I start to explain this? When I was 20, I went to Tibet and was able to observe Buddhist monks praying. What I saw was not so much a mental practice as a physical one- the monks were doing a motion that reminded me of burpees. Nothing had ever made so much sense to me. Runners go until they're "high," Sufis whirl to shed their ego, Buddhist monks slide across the earth to know humility. I cook to feed my own peace. My own, very practical, not-so-religious form of prayer.

This week when anxiety overcame me, I cut up my potatoes and squash into 1.5" cubes and roasted them at 375 until they were cooked enough to run a fork through, but not quite done. I tossed them in a bowl with a thick dressing made of a head of golden, roasted and mashed garlic, a few spoonfuls of toasted sesame oil, a few spoonfuls of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and the juice of a lime while I turned the oven up to 425 with the pan still inside it. I poured the vegetables onto the hot pan and let them finish cooking through. They came out soft and sweet, walking the line between deeply caramelized and burned. I tossed them with chopped parsley and green onions and ate them warm.