Did I ever mention that cooking is something I truly enjoy? Believe it or not, it’s one of the activities that keep me grounded and give me a great sense of satisfaction. The only exception is, when I entertain.
I’m still working on letting go, accepting what is and surrendering to the process when I take care of other people. I have this unhealthy habit of taking too much responsibility for other people’s experience. Call it control, a constant effort to look good, a heightened sense of perfectionism, or all of the above. Whatever it is, I’ve been watching it for years and I’m happy to report . . . there is progress in the making.
I didn’t use to enjoy cooking. Either way, I was pretty terrible at it. Once I started experimenting though, I discovered that one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy cooking was because I’m not that great at following recipes.
I’ve played by other people’s rules all my life. Do I really need to do the same while cooking? That’s what happens when you try to be “good” most of your young life. You reach adulthood and, one day, you realize that today is, as good a day as any, to rebel.
It didn’t help that my mother, who was a great cook, often took a critical stance at my first attempts in cooking. I figured, if she doesn’t like what I make, then, I don’t have to cook. And, I didn’t – which, of course, brought about a whole other wave of criticism. Oh, well. Being the old fashioned Greek lady that my mother was, she must have had nightmares of her daughter ending up a spinster. Who would ever marry anyone who was a lousy cook?
And so it went, until I got married to a guy who loved to cook and eat. Not only that, but he was vegetarian. What do you mean vegetarian? I never loved to eat red meat but, no self-respected Greek of my time was a vegetarian or had ever heard what a vegetarian is. And, here I am, marrying one. That ought to be fun . . . and so it’s been fun for the past 27 years.
For those of you who have seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” let me tell you. When we went to see it, we almost got kicked out of the theatre, that’s how loud we were. We laughed to no end. It was deja vu! The memory of my mother’s reaction, to learning that her son-in-law was a vegetarian, was classic.
Today, 27 years and approximately 19,000 meals later, I can honestly say that cooking has become an activity I enjoy. I’ve even found cookbooks I love using as inspiration. I follow recipes, now and then, although there are very few recipes I don’t alter. I love that I can be creative, experiment and have something yummy and nutritious to share in the end.
For me, keeping it simple and authentic is the way to go. Who needs too much intervention when all this fresh stuff is here for our enjoyment? I love fresh herbs and vegetables; the more flavor and fragrance, the better.
I’ve also decided that, cooking, more than baking, suits my style. If I’m going to have dessert, it better be divine and that’s what, the French Bakery in our town, is for.
I’ve found that being myself is all I can do these days and the people around me agree. I think I’ve found my tribe . . . but more on the subject of “tribes” later.
Stay tuned. . .