Last weekend I attended a BBQ.
It was one of those laid back sort of events… the menu was decided upon last minute and we had no real start time. Basically it was four people coming together to cook and share the evening. There was classical music, inside jokes, Matthew standing proud and manly over the flames (singing a bit of the hair off his knuckles in the process), and in the end some very fine food.
I doubt anyone there could tell that the evening was a mini turning point for me.
You see I used to cook. I also used to be married, didn’t have a job outside the home, and no real hobbies except being the happy housewife.
After I joined the ranks of self sufficient and single women, I found that I lacked the desire to cook for myself. It was a sort of self empowerment thing (and yes, the irony of not sustaining myself physically to somehow do it emotionally is not lost on me). I didn’t have to cook for my husband… in fact I was free for the first time in my life to set my own schedule, plan my own evenings, eat what I wanted when I wanted…. I thrilled at all this independence and I decided I wasn’t going to cook.
To be honest, a bit of this was practical… I had practically no money and for a while no real cooking supplies. Part of my artistic nature reveled in being the opposite of the “good wife” all single girl self sufficient eating Saltines for dinner… occasionally splurging on jam for my toast… but see I had never been the classic “starving” college student and I didn’t know about things like Raman, cans of tuna, rice and beans, or seasonings. All I knew how to cook were the thing my ex husband had liked to eat… and since both he and my father had both been pretty comfortable in the kitchen, I had never really bothered to learn more than what I needed to know.
I also didn’t eat much. Thanks the miracle of on-site cafeterias at work and a semi regular cycle of first and second dates, I didn’t really need to prepare food for myself. So I didn’t. When I was hungry, I made toast. I ate granola bars. I drank milk and beer and ordered pizza (making it last for four or five dinners). Occasionally I made microwave popcorn and would eat an entire bag in one sitting calling it breakfast or dinner as the time of day dictated.
I lived in a studio apartment for seven months without owning a set of silverware and didn’t notice.
How I got from there to here is a story for another day, suffice it to say that there were several dinners and conversation, and even a few romantic overtures that have led me to where I was sitting last Sunday evening watching helplessly while my friends moved around the kitchen, cooking, chopping, talking in code, and generally amused by my befuddlement.
And that evening of confusion and embarrassment has led me in turn to today, right now, this blog post.
I want to become more comfortable in the kitchen.
I want to eat healthier.
I want to be able to cook for myself.
I would like to be able to cook for others too, but primarily for myself… it is a (new) self empowerment thing.
And as I travel down this somewhat frightening road I am sure I will have a few adventures and a few set backs. But I am loath to simply fade into the background and continue to have a troubled relationship with my kitchen.
Here I go!