02 October 2010
I love cooking for myself.
It's not that I don't mind cooking for others. I belong to a group of food-loving foodies who celebrate food, and we cook for each other often, celebrating the strengths of that potato salad and reveling in the fact that one pound of butter really went into that pound cake. Hauling side dishes on the back of my bike brings me great joy. Talking with people about food is a daily occurrence. So much of my food life is social.
But cooking for myself, that I really love. In an empty house, with the tunes turned up. Nobody will know the excesses of butter and salt. With my mind clear I futz with the temperature, add a little more flour. In the calm of my head I make important decisions about how I will unthaw the spinach. My family and friends are all around me, in gifted butter dishes and mixers and rubber spatulas. Individual portions fill me with intense and quiet satisfaction. In solitude I worship at the feet of proteins, fats, and carbs.
My therapist recently labelled this kind of activity "deliberate self care." I know that this kind of recreation is important for my well-being. I know that the times and seasons of my life may someday make this pursuit a rare event. But for now, in the moment, beyond all the present meaning and possibilities of the future, I delight in cooking for one.