Saturday, October 26, 2013
Yes, I know I talk A LOT about this. But I've realized only recently what a huge part of my soul cooking occupies. I can remember trying the recipes on the cans and boxes of processed foods we had when I was a kid and being very proud of it.
I spent many years among people who not only didn't like my food, they actually didn't want me to cook. I once made fresh biscuit shortcakes for strawberries, and my in-laws said, "Why? They sell shortcakes at the grocery store." (They were basically Twinkies without the cream. If I wanted to eat my fruit on a kitchen sponge, I would have done it.) I spent quite a few years living among people who said they wanted me to do the cooking, then perched on my shoulder like demented parrots and said, "No, not that way! Do it this way!" My last roommate wouldn't even taste anything I cooked. No reason, she just wouldn't.
If being a chef had been a viable career option for women when I left high school, I would have liked to pursue it. However, it wasn't, and since I had just come out of a violently abusive home situation, I probably didn't have the emotional strength for its demands. I was also intimidated by my father's demands that "trade school" wasn't good enough and only academia would do. I washed out of college miserably.
I've realized recently that I have a very insidious thought. Particularly on Friday night, I'm prone to think, "it's been a brutal week and I deserve a treat. Let's head for the drive-through." The words "treat" and "drive-through" do not belong in the same book, let alone the same sentence. An overcooked burger? Faux potatoes cooked in God-knows-what? So NOT a treat, and I need to lose the impulse to think of it that way. Also, a cookbook I just read referred to fast food as "the devil's work." I totally agree.
I think I'm going to make a point of having eggs, cheese and cooked veggies in the house so I can bang together a quick frittata for supper. I love them and they're super-easy to make. I can also have cooked chicken and such on hand to make a quick salad or sandwich.
I recently read that the popularity of cooking competitions on TV has scared regular folks out of trying to cook. For me it has the opposite effect -- I actually play along with Chopped and Iron Chef America. I want to cook, NEED to cook. Creativity and artistry matter so much to me. This is my favorite expression of it, along with my knitting.
I apologize if I talk too much about this. But it just matters so much to me.