Then I had my first cooking lesson at about eight years of age; I can still vividly remember it.
My mother was at work and my little brother and I were being cared for by our close neighbour who had two sons around the same age as my brother and I. It was almost dinner time and she was busy in the kitchen and I don’t know why but I was suddenly interested in what she was doing with the chicken, so I asked. Bless her, because she was very patient and proceeded to instruct me in the art of cooking as she allowed me to help.
I remember a warm pleasant feeling as we all ate dinner that day. I had helped to make what tasted so good and what obviously brought so much pleasure to everyone sitting at the table.
So began my tumultuous relationship with cooking, my mother being a single parent had very little time to really teach me what I wanted to learn about cooking. Yet whenever she did manage to find time to show me what to do, I found that cooking was the only chore that I actually wanted to do. Unfortunately, as I grew up, my interest strayed far away and I found myself living alone in my early 20s with no desire to make my own meals. My favourite saying was “I can’t cook for one” and it was true.
Cooking for me is about sharing; it’s about affection and a tangible manifestation of my feelings. In fact, it was while living with a boyfriend that I rediscovered my passion for cooking. Feeding my boyfriend took me back to that place in my childhood, when I felt valued and needed and his pleasure fed my own like nothing else could. When the relationship ended and I was on my own again, I found that I once more professed that “I can’t cook for one”. This continued for a while until someone asked me,
Don’t you deserve to be fed?
It finally clicked. I was feeding my emotions into my food and feeding my food into my partners as an act of love. Yet, I refused to perform this same act of love for myself. I was ashamed.
Today, I am happily single and I cook almost every day; performing that act of love for myself and occasionally for my friends.