bring romanticism back

Cooking, on a personal level

The kitchen is a great learning place. Besides learning how to cook, you also learn to budget, make quick decisions, consider other people’s (those sharing the meal) preferences and health requirements, and a lot of other things. You also get to read about things new to you: cooking and food in other cultures, measurement and conversion, temperature, cooking vessels (I like this site for reviews; it is called Cookware Nation.) how different organic and natural foods are from each other, health issues, unusual recipes, and new food researches. Lately I’ve even been to reading labels and nutritional value of food from grocery shelves. I think cooking has added value to things that I know, and in more ways than merely creating meals.

Early in our marriage, my wife used to be the person who handled kitchen and food matters. Now, it’s mainly me. We’ve changed places, maybe coming to a full circle in our relationship, and we are enjoying it. I experiment on food, and we devour everything with gusto. Sometimes we call in friends and family. I showcase my cooking, and everyone loves to be the critic (they often oblige with good reviews and full tummies).

Cooking at the pace I decide is stress-relieving. I usually cook alone, and I like it that way. If I cook and there’s another person to share the sink or the cooktop with, I am not as stress-less.  I also do not want to talk while cooking (I wonder how cooking show hosts do the cooking and talking at the same time), because talking breaks my train of thought. So less humans to contend with in the kitchen, the better it is for me. On weekend barbecues, however, I enjoy the noise and the clutter in the patio. Maybe, the open setting breaks the claustrophobic atmosphere usually felt inside the kitchen and changes my mind-set.

Had I not developed the knack for cooking, I might have become a famished writer - the typical grey-bearded, hunched, wiry-haired and bony guy punching keys till the wee hours. Instead, I have formed a discipline. I wake up early because my body clock wakes me up to cook breakfast. And true enough, in as little as less than an hour later, my stomach gurgles because it is hungry. I also keep the beard and hair regularly trimmed lest they stray to the food. I love to cook and eat, and I am farthest from being famished. The kitchen activity involves diverse activities, such as beating motions, bending, and walking the whole nine yards; and I can say that I am physically agile and mentally sharp because different things are demanded simultaneously from me in the kitchen.

I have become more social, because the essence of cooking food is sharing it. Our dining has not been limited to family occasions, Christmas and thanksgiving dinners. We call in friends every once in a while without anything to celebrate about except life and fellowship. A neighbour always obliges with my invites. My son and his family also live nearby so getting a crowd is not a problem. Their little bundle of naughtiness is at my yard to yank me out of my quiet every day; he also has a way of making an ice cream maker out of me.

I savor time at the supermarket; unlike before when supermarket time had to be done quickly because a hundred and one things had to be done afterwards. I used to not mind people around, keeping my attention intently on the product shelves. Now I have time to look at other shoppers, chat with them, read product labels, listen to the store’s promotional offers, and do shopping at a leisurely pace. Maybe it’s not just that I have more time. Now I am more receptive of other people and their ideas.

Cooking came late to me; but when did, it came with a bang.