To this day I am still realizing the importance of self care in professions dealing with the public. As librarians we don’t see nearly the kind of heartbreak and horror social workers, child counselors, public health nurses and even teachers do every day, but we see enough. Every person through our doors has a story and many feel obligated to share their stories with the person helping them find necessary information. Others desperately need someone to talk to and at the library they mostly find kind, welcoming people happy to listen (ok, so maybe we aren’t always really happy, but we do a great job of hiding that from them, right?) and help them find whatever and whoever they need.
All this listening and helping and searching is taxing on the heart and soul, especially when it’s so often for tough situations like divorce, disability, child custody, children in prison, and failing health. And especially when we don’t receive the same level of training for dealing with people (of all kinds) as we do for locating information. And how can we even begin to help people if we, ourselves, are not in the best shape? We cannot provide the best possible service to our community if we are so stressed and exhausted that every person who visits our desks annoys us. We should not be faking it more than we are genuine. Last week I witnessed a coworker genuinely enjoying their interaction with a patron, one faking it unbeknownst to the patron, and another flat out and obviously annoyed by and uninterested in a patron (who had various mental health issues but overall had simple, doable requests, as I discovered when I helped them later on). My first thought was that the last coworker must have had a rough week.
So, after a particularly trying week myself, and not wanting to ever be like the last coworker, I’m making a pact with myself. Every Sunday I will take a break from all things libraries and focus on some major self care. To keep myself on track, and because I truly think this will help me be an even better librarian, I will be documenting my Self Care Sundays here.
Since baking is my happy place (and I get to use STEM!), this Sunday I made epic Coconut Cream Pie from the latest Food & Wine. I have been super sick the last week or so and now my husband has the ick. He has been eyeballing this pie, and requested it. I’m not a big coconut fan, but looking into his glassy eyes I couldn’t say no. The pie took ALL DAY. Partly because I’d never made a cream pie quite like this and partly because it has to chill for a total of 3 hours. But, you know what? WORTH IT. And I apparently LOVE coconut cream pie. It is currently difficult for me not to walk into the kitchen, grab a fork, open the fridge and dig in. The struggle is real.
Get the recipe here: Coconut Cream Pie
Here are some pics to make your mouth water and see the process.
Some of my prep space. I forgot to take a picture of the whole mise en place. My kitchen is super tiny now so I have this block and the stove, basically. That’s oobleck in the bowl in the front left corner. GO STEM!!
Cooking, and then straining the filling to get the vanilla beans out.
Filling goes in a bowl with plastic wrap on top. Then, after it cools down a bit, into the fridge for an hour.
The crust. Shredded coconut and vanilla cookie goodness. Nilla Wafers have high fructose corn syrup so I subbed for these instead. NO REGRETS.
Coconut whip cream goes in the filling and on top.
Topped with whipped cream and into the fridge for 2 more hours.
I didn’t have toasted coconut so I toasted the regular stuff myself.