I haven’t done much cooking lately. While Tim was in Florida, I went on a cheese-and-meat binge (celebrating my respite from veganism), but I cooked 4 or 5 times and made it last two weeks. Now that I’m coming down the home stretch in grad school and I have 4 papers and 2 finals staring me in the face, I barely have time to tie my shoelaces, let alone whip up a vegetable curry. To own the truth, I’ve been letting Tim take over the meal prep. It wasn’t easy. I’m a pretty good cook, and I often rely on that to compensate for my lack of domestic skills in other areas, such as laundry and scrubbing the oven. However, he’s been doing a terrific job with great willingness of spirit, and I’m enjoying the results.
Tonight, however, I decided to make an exception. It’s a Sunday evening, I’m caught up on homework for the moment, and despite the fact that I could be plowing ahead in one of writing assignments, I chose to push all that aside and make a meal. Not just any meal, mind you. An intense, gourmet, Middle-Eastern flavor fest that required an hour of prep and nearly every dish in my kitchen to make. And it reminded of an important that I’d nearly forgotten: cooking is a marvelous kind of therapy. It won’t lift you from the “depths of despair,” but a solid hour over the stove can melt away minor stresses, frustrations, and disappointments. No, really! Try it sometime. Put on an apron and your favorite music. Pour a small glass of wine to sip while you work. Make something with fresh herbs in it –and take time mincing them finely. Put away the measuring spoons and pinch the coarse kosher salt with your finger. Mash the potatoes by hand. Add an extra tablespoon of butter. And taste everything, with few exceptions. I don’t recommend raw onions or eggs, but a tiny sampling of most ingredients will help you learn how much to add and will whet your appetite for the finished product. Don’t be shy; even tasting a tiny squeeze of that fresh lemon will make you a better cook, and more importantly, a better eater.
One final recommendation: marry someone who’s so grateful for the amazing results of your therapy, that he is more than happy to clean the kitchen when it’s all over.