Cooking for a Change

Some people cook like robots. Frozen in front of the stove with just their arms moving back and forth, flipping or stirring but stagnant in the rhythm of the motion. They move horizontally from sink to cutting board, the angle of their neck paralyzed at 60 degrees.

And then there are the cooks who fly from counter to counter, wildly tossing ingredients about the kitchen. They inhale smells with their entire body, they taste with their tongue and speak with their hands. Their whole being is fluid to the pleasures of the task at hand, laughing and shaking and twisting with enthusiasm and effort. Ingredients are sprinkled and tossed, their wrists whip with the blade, their shoulders heave with effort and exhilaration.

I am not a cook, but I take great pleasure in watching the latter party perform; their enthusiasm is contagious and the preparation almost looks fun. On the rare occassion, the task falls on me and so I do my best imitation. Somewhere in between sizzle and simmer, I linger in the kitchen with a full glass of wine and a book on the counter, reading while I chop to maximize the time away from work. I am slow and intetional and immensely appreciate the time to unwind with my hands. I am not one to whip up gourmet concoctions and I’ve stopped trying to compete. A midwesterner at heart, my meals are simple but satisfying. Warm egg salad with salt and pepper. Fresh ceasar salad with cherry tomotoes. Open faced sandwiches with cream cheese, season salt, and diced avocado. Hot pasta with tomatos sauce and melted cheddar. Soul food. Home food. Comfort food. In my house I am rarely the chef and am immensely grateful to be freed of that burden. The liberation, however, makes the rare opportunity immeasurably pleasurable and so as the music is turned up and the book spine cracked, I loosen my wrists and take to the apron….

… I could really use an apron. It would really help my act.

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