Chef Meredith Hayden on the Foodstuff She Eats When She’s Experience Anxious: Spaghetti Pomodoro

In SELF’s new franchise, The Food I Try to eat When I’m Feeling…, we communicate with cooks, celebs, athletes, and individuals in the culinary space about the certain foodstuff or foods they change to amid selected emotions—and how eating their favorites performs a vital job in their self-treatment.

Chef and recipe developer Meredith Hayden, 26, has no problem generating uniquely gratifying menus for her consumers, no matter whether she’s preparing a seafood-themed meal for the loved ones she cooks for in the Hamptons or making ready a lunch distribute highlighted by her well known pink pasta for a company catering occupation. In simple fact, she’s amassed much more than 800,000 TikTok followers who tune in to uncover out what she’s going to put collectively upcoming.

But soon after a extended working day of making foods for other men and women, thinking about what to make herself for meal can be daunting.

“When I am by myself, by yourself, and I’m burned out from operate, the final detail I want to do is obtain a new recipe, make a grocery checklist, and go to the grocery store, and then browse that recipe and cook,” Hayden, who posts beneath the deal with @WishboneKitchen, tells SELF. “When you’re emotion nervous and overstimulated, the very last thing you want to do—especially in New York City—is go away your apartment and go to the retail outlet.”

So on times when her anxiety is at max issue, Hayden keeps a dish which is low on exertion and superior on reward at the ready: spaghetti pomodoro.

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The dish, which goes from conception to bowl in about 15 minutes, calls up recollections from Hayden’s childhood, when a bowl of spaghetti with crimson sauce served as her go-to consolation food. This developed-up edition delivers all the satisfaction of the original but kicks up the umami thanks to the garlic, butter, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese that complement the acidity of the cooked-down cherry tomatoes.

“It’s seriously just a savory bomb,” claims Hayden.

There’s pleasure in the garlic-ahead, creamy dish by itself, but there’s also ease and comfort in the program-ness of it. Hayden, who was diagnosed with ADHD at 12, suggests that at any time considering that she was a kid, producing decisions—even on small points, like what shirt she’d wear to college or what she’d have for breakfast—could come to feel frustrating all through situations of higher anxiety. So now as an grownup, having the query of what to take in for dinner off the desk can give her the time she wants to decompress and permit her thoughts peaceful down from the chaos of the working day.

And her times can get hectic: Hayden functions as a private chef—she cooks for the exact same loved ones in the metropolis during the drop to the spring, then travels out to the Hamptons every single weekend with them in the course of the summer—and a caterer for New York–based activities and meal parties, all even though generating articles for TikTok and Instagram, acquiring model partnerships, and self-publishing two cookbooks.

Before she turns 30, she tells SELF, she hopes to flip all of this expertise into a cookbook made by a common publisher, a single exactly where her expertise in dwelling-cooking—versus “overly fussy extravagant food” targeted more on visual appeal above taste—can definitely glow.