The Cozy Childhood Memory That I'm Weaving Into My Own Daily Life
There are few memories I hold dearer than ones of my grandmother, Iran Joon, floating in her kitchen.
A galley overlooking the Hudson River, it was humble but bustling. So far from her homeland but the center of our universe. Dotted with Persian rosewater and sabzi (green herbs), saffron and dried limes, dolmas as big as our fists and steaming chai (tea) ready, she so earnestly, existed to feed us. The winsome waft of it all was her aromatic "welcome" sign; we all too happy to oblige.
Iran was a remarkably petite woman, no more than 4-foot-10 in her highest house shoes—but, somehow still, an expansive, generous, gravitational force. And with family both near and a world away, she and her home were always buzzing. On a call or around her lace-veiled table, she'd bring conversation to life. Easy, opened, beaming—her Farsi poetic and melodious to my novice ears—a sugar cube between her teeth, always, and chai in hand.
Tea remains my grandmother's living legacy. Now 30 myself—with a family and community of my own, a kitchen to call home and table to call heart—it's ingrained in my own daily life as well.
In these cooler months, I’ve been most drawn to slower but consciously active actions for myself.
Life, currently at 30 is a thoughtful balance of young motherhood, young marriage, and creative career. Beautiful, busy, and fervidly encompassing. Days begin most mornings before sunrise: our 3-year-old Poe—resident rooster—and his intricately choreographed waltz. My husband Andrew scrambling eggs and warming toasts. Me, packing lunchboxes and whizzing smoothies. Mini bagels with sun butter are having a big moment. Poe going potty and our daughter, Indie, still sleeping upstairs. The news humming headlines in the background as we all play our roles. And within that: spilled milk, belly laughs, our kitten Henson scampering across the table as we eat. Us bringing our own conversation to life. And sips of doppio espresso or Traditional Medicinals' Peppermint tea, served in ceramic, after breakfast. It's pleasantly minty and soothing, supporting healthy digestion* and our communal table.
Andrew and I both work from home, as much co-workers as impassioned partners. A relatively new reality, boundaries have been fundamental in maintaining our work-life balance. So work doesn't seep into life when both are housed within the same four walls. This often looks like time apart—midday moments of introspection and motion—to maintain our own identities while supporting unanimity.
Andrew is an avid triathlete and often uses this time to run and cycle. In these cooler months, I've been most drawn to restorative yoga practices, crisp walks, and time spent knitting. Slower but consciously active actions for myself. And before delving back in, you'll often find us sharing a Turmeric tea—the blend from Traditional Medicinals includes medicinal-grade meadowsweet and ginger. Warming and spicy, turmeric root has been long praised for its soothing benefits, supporting a healthy response to inflammation from our active lifestyles* and providing a moment of time together before navigating the remainder of the day.
Spending most late afternoons with Poe and Indie—reading stories, riding scooters, making our rounds of neighborhood playgrounds—Andrew and I typically reconnect after their bedtime, saving a dinner and a cozy couch for ourselves to unwind and repose over. During winter weeknights, these meals typically look like pre-prepped roasted vegetables and spatchcock chickens, warm rice, and heartier stews. The occasional glass of Beaujolais. Simple, inviting options that lend themselves well to nourishment and ease. Served on the couch in our sweatpants. Separating work from life, this time is unscripted and spontaneous.
Served on the couch in our sweatpants. Separating work from life, this time is unscripted and spontaneous.
And because we've never missed a dessert (really, ever): stracciatella ice cream and dark chocolate have been recent favorites, finished off with Traditional Medicinals' Nighty Night tea. A delicate balance of passionflower herb, chamomile, and catnip, it's minty and sweet, altogether relaxing.* Especially sipped while watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
My grandmother hardly spoke a word of English, or I a word of Farsi—our conversations taking the form of her unconditionally abundant tables, warm smiles, knowing eyes. My eagerness to be around her, to soak her all in. Little actions with big implications, translating to a communal camaraderie and opportunity for introspection I've come to internalize. To "I love you." With her chai at the center, as much our bedrock as beverage. Epitomizing self-care in a sip.
Alexandra Dawson is a Washington, DC based nutritionist, wellness warrior, mama bird, and the writer and photographer behind celebrated plant-based lifestyle and recipe website inmybowl.com and Instagram @tallulahalexandra. Extremely passionate about whole body wellness, a balance between a nourished mind, body and spirit, through In My Bowl and Tallulah, Alexandra actively strives to make that philosophy and lifestyle accessible to every demographic.