I bought dinner tonight, chicken fried rice to be precise. It is a rare occasion in my house, my children are all away for the weekend, no one to cook for, it would have been nice for me to get away as well but it just didn’t work out that way. I thought about cooking for myself tonight but it was just too much work. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook almost as much as I like to eat, well actually sometimes more. For the previous 4 Easters I have cooked, for hundreds, my contribution towards Easter camps. I have a simple philosophy around cooking, I am quite proficient, some have even said that I excel. I am not one that cooks from a recipe book, very much intuitive however there is one special ingredient that makes a difference, and that is very simple, I cook with love.
Yes fresh, good quality ingredients go a long way to making an excellent meal, as does the right balance of spices, sugar and salt. The love ingredient I talk of is not the love of taste, the love of cooking but the love of people, not exclusive to cooking obviously, many people express their love for someone by doing many different things for me cooking has become one of those expressions.
This past few weeks have taken a toll on me, I have had to deal with a number of disappointments, setbacks and without being too dramatic betrayals. There has been a number of lessons that I have learnt, some of it is my own making for sure but some just has proven to me that my gut instincts are right, I am usually a good judge of whether I should trust someone. I have pushed past some of my misgivings and doubts because I don’t want to be judgemental however I acknowledge that I need to listen to my inner voice much more clearly. What does this have to do with cooking or more precisely chicken fried rice well let me explain.
I realised that whilst I am happy and most often like to cook for others, I rarely cook for myself, I was reflecting on this today as I sat with my container of fried rice, I could have cooked some delicious rump steak, with salad and potatoes, a meal I enjoy but I couldn’t be bothered. Too much effort, I didn’t really enjoy the rice, it was adequate but perfunctory. There are many things I do that are merely functional when I am by myself, some of that is based around my own view of who I am and what am I worth. I know that there are somethings I do well, and some things with passion, and that integrity drives a lot of things I do (not all I am not perfect) but there are some things about me I don’t like, I struggle with these things, this is not a bad thing necessarily, it involves reflection and a desire to do things in a better, more successful way.
The main reason I don’t cook for myself is that right at the moment there are somethings in my life I am not happy with. Some of those things are in my control, overs not. My sister described me as sometimes having a mood that is lower than a snakes armpit, a colourful expression that stung a little. It stung because it is true, right now I don’t have a half full glass and even if I did I would be likely to spill it or drop it and break it. I tell myself that others have it worse, berate myself for a lack of gratefulness for the good things in my life, question my mental state, perhaps I am depressed, all I know is that I don’t like my life very much and more important critically I don’t like who I am.
Now this is not a pity party, where I want people to tell me hey you are a good guy, that kind of stuff, some things just are and I need to sort it out. I will only be able to do that once I have sorted the things in my life that I have control over, I have started that process, making some changes, putting away some things, tidying up my baggage as it were. In doing so I will then be able to put myself in a position where I can confront the thinks I don’t like about myself and know whether I am being realistic in deciding if I can change those things and maybe take a look at why I am so hard on myself. Perhaps then I might feel like cooking for myself or doing things for myself that potentially just give me pleasure. I may even do that tomorrow!
Take care and remember that the greatest thing of all is love and it is at Easter where remember the love that was expressed for us,.