The idea of a "capsule wardrobe" has gained a ton of momentum over the last few years. This is the concept where you have a limited wardrobe of items that you really like instead of a closet full of clothes that you rarely wear. Some people have taken the idea further still by creating a personal "uniform" and only wearing the same thing every day. Famous examples of this are Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama; I wrote about personal uniforms already over here.
On the extreme, uniform end of the life-simplification-spectrum, there are some people who eat the same meal (often lunch) every day. This article in The Atlantic explores some of these folks and the different reasons they have had for this streamlined habit — from simplicity, stress-reduction, time-saving, to just plain enjoyment.
Few of us will instate a personal uniform, but many more are eager to embrace a more minimal wardrobe overall. In the same way, few of us want to eat the same thing every, single day; but, do we have the same interest in a limited rotation of meals or ingredients?
For a majority of the world, eating the same thing every day (and the same thing throughout the day) doesn't have a fancy name; it's simply called: eating!
Rice & beans may be the daily diet for billions of people in hundreds of countries, but here, the attitude towards eating the same thing over and over is often viewed as an uninspired, character flaw.
As The Atlantic article explores, people who bring the same meal to work every day are good-naturedly teased — "What's for lunch today, Joe? [snicker, snicker]" — and mostly the response from others neutral. But, the scale would tip definitely more towards an eyebrow-raise rather than admiration or inspiration.
Personally, I find it really easy to wear only few articles of clothing; fashion is not an area in which I feel compelled to express myself. Maybe that's from wearing a school uniform for many years, or maybe it's my aversion to fast fashion (and the lack of funds that would allow me to keep up with trends with higher quality, better made clothing).
Food, on the other hand, is much more of a creative outlet for me. I love to cook, to experiment, to try new things, dabble with ingredients. When I had babies and my husband was a student, a friend of mine (in the same life-stage) shared her monthly meal plan with me. It was impressive... and oppressive! (to me, at least!). I later got a glimpse inside her fridge: where was the abundance of random half-full bottles (Asian dark sauces, curry pastes, various mustards)?
When she looks in my fridge, does she see overabundance & excess where I see creative juices flowing?
Are these one-and-the same? Is a "capsule diet" or "capsule menu" going to be the next KonMari-ish trend? Which one would be (or is) easier for you to be a minimalist: in clothes or in food? Weigh in below!
A few stories, as I parse through the complexities of privilege & justice…
We spent time visiting in Dhomina’s relatively large home. The space had been expanded to include a separate cooking space — built upon because of the income she earned making kantha for Basha, for us. Amazing!
I've shared my favourite reads in the past, and today I'm sharing some faves to cook.
This is not a cooking blog (obviously) and I haven't styled any plates or hired any food photographers. I am no expert, but I do cook great food. This assertion is not self-congratulatory! I have little (no) inherent skill and I attribute all of my good cooking to 1) other people's excellent recipes, 2) access to fresh, reliable, & varied food, and 3) time (ie. the time I currently have currently to cook AND the many years of practice).