In SELF’s new franchise, The Meal I Eat Once I’m Feeling…, we discuss with cooks, celebs, athletes, and folks within the culinary house in regards to the particular meals or meals they flip to amid sure feelings—and the way consuming their favorites performs a significant function of their self-care.
Chef and recipe developer Meredith Hayden, 26, has no drawback creating uniquely satisfying menus for her shoppers, whether or not she’s planning a seafood-themed dinner for the household she cooks for within the Hamptons or making ready a lunch unfold highlighted by her well-known pink pasta for a company catering job. In reality, she’s amassed greater than 800,000 TikTok followers who tune in to search out out what she’s going to place collectively subsequent.
However after an extended day of making meals for different individuals, interested by what to make herself for dinner will be daunting.
“Once I’m on my own, alone, and I am burned out from work, the very last thing I wish to do is discover a new recipe, make a grocery listing, and go to the grocery retailer, after which learn that recipe and prepare dinner,” Hayden, who posts underneath the deal with @WishboneKitchen, tells SELF. “Whenever you’re feeling anxious and overstimulated, the very last thing you wish to do—particularly in New York Metropolis—is go away your residence and go to the shop.”
So on days when her stress is at max level, Hayden retains a dish that’s low on effort and excessive on reward on the prepared: spaghetti pomodoro.
The dish, which works from conception to bowl in about quarter-hour, calls up recollections from Hayden’s childhood, when a bowl of spaghetti with pink sauce served as her go-to consolation meals. This grown-up model brings all of the satisfaction of the unique however kicks up the umami due to the garlic, butter, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese that complement the acidity of the cooked-down cherry tomatoes.
“It’s actually only a savory bomb,” says Hayden.
There’s enjoyment within the garlic-forward, creamy dish itself, however there’s additionally consolation within the routine-ness of it. Hayden, who was identified with ADHD at 12, says that ever since she was a child, making choices—even on small issues, like what shirt she’d put on to highschool or what she’d have for breakfast—might really feel overwhelming throughout instances of excessive stress. So now as an grownup, taking the query of what to eat for dinner off the desk may give her the time she must decompress and let her thoughts calm down from the chaos of the day.
And her days can get hectic: Hayden works as a non-public chef—she cooks for a similar household within the metropolis in the course of the fall to the spring, then travels out to the Hamptons each weekend with them in the course of the summer time—and a caterer for New York–primarily based occasions and dinner events, all whereas producing content material for TikTok and Instagram, growing model partnerships, and self-publishing two cookbooks.
Earlier than she turns 30, she tells SELF, she hopes to show all of this expertise right into a cookbook produced by a conventional writer, one the place her experience in home-cooking—versus “overly fussy fancy meals” centered extra on look over style—can actually shine.