I’m on the floor. It’s been unseasonably warm, and the kitchen tiles are cool, if somewhat gritty, against my skin. I probably should have swept before starting to write this, but I’m lying here in the hopes that 1) I will stop sweating, and 2) this new perspective on my kitchen will somehow inspire me to start cooking dinner.
I love eating. It is my favourite activity in the whole universe. However, preparing food more complicated than a bowl of cereal triggers a toxic combination of anxiety, stress, anger, and resentment in me, the source of which to this day I can’t pinpoint.
Last weekend I watched a friend make dinner, which I was then lucky enough to eat: delicious zucchini, potatoes, grilled lamb with home-made aioli, and apple crumble for dessert. I compare the beauty, grace, and confidence with which the food was prepared to a ballet, but one that I’d actually enjoy.
It was incredibly satisfying to watch the deft chopping, casual yet deliberate measuring of ingredients to find that elusive “to taste” sweet spot, and the sensual drizzling of olive oil from a bottle half-stoppered by a knowing thumb. What’s more, everything was made while engaging in relaxed conversation, between sips of wine and several parenting breaks. (Oh, and somehow in the middle of all that, a cheese and crudité plate miraculously appeared.)
That all seems impossible to me. I can’t make a sandwich without having to leave the room and count to 10. I know some folks claim that cooking relaxes them, but, much like women who say pregnancy was easy and made them feel beautiful, they’re crazy. Or lying. Or both.
Yet clearly it happens, because these happy chefs continue to conjure edible magic that I greedily stuff into my face hole. Naturally, I wish I could cook as well as they do. I wish I could do anything with such instinctive expertise. What I envy the most is the enjoyment they get from doing something so well they don’t even have to think about it.
If I’m honest, the only thing I’m THAT good at doing is eating.
So now it’s time to start dinner, regardless of how much I’ve tried to put it off. Maybe if I see it as a game, or an art project, I’ll realize how much fun it can be. Then perhaps it’ll be me one day, preparing an exquisite banquet and loving every minute of it.
But not today. Right now, I can already taste the rage.