I started to cook at age 12. It was out of necessity and so not a joy. I was taught to cook over the phone and with notes left in the kitchen with instructions from my mother. I went from using precise measurements and exact steps to my own style of throwing in handfuls of things and using my eyes to measure out salt and spices. I would prep my foods in the morning before school and return to finish off the meal in the afternoon before everyone else came back from school. I continued to cook for our household until I was 22, at which point I hung up my apron and said no more.
My relationship with cooking was formed by obligation and not out of love for the kitchen. But once I stopped cooking out of obligation, I realized that I liked to cook and feed people. So now when I cook it is because I want to. I also recognized a couple of years ago that when in distress, I cook.
There is a sense of accomplishment, there is acknowledgment, and a sharing of joy when you cook for people. Yesterday, I cooked for three hours and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I loved thinking of the menu, setting my shopping list, prepping, frying, chopping, cooking, baking, all of it. My favorite part of the meal was when I laid out the table with all the cooked dishes, their smells, and flavors wafting up to us. Our mouths watering in anticipation. Our eyes feasting on the colorful array of foods. It was picture perfect. We dove in, tasting all dishes, leaving nothing to our imagination.
The satisfied looks and the full bellies told me the meal was a success and that is the reward of a pleasure afternoon in the kitchen.
For those that are curious our menu was:
Sweet Corn Chicken Soup
Musaka (Greek Style)
Spinach Artichokes with chicken and ginger
Ginger Jasmine rice
Baked Chicken and Potatoes
Vanilla and Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream