I’m struggling to be truly thankful for blogging and NaBloPoMo, which is tricky because I had intended to write something to that effect.
But I’ve got a dinner reservation in an hour, I’ve been on the go since 6am, and my Internet is being slow. So that post isn’t happening tonight.
I am, however, thankful for one very significant activity in my life that plays a part in blogging: I am thankful for cooking.
Today, I finished my grading marathon of 70 papers, 19 exams, and 70 Reading Responses. It took awhile, at times it was defeating, but mostly it was okay. Just time-consuming.
But today I finished and then got a haircut, then read a magazine and watched half an episode of 30 Rock. And then, I got cooking.
I find cooking incredibly therapeutic. I feel at home and at ease in the kitchen. Amanda once told me that I cook with a sort of quiet confidence, and I like to think that (most of the time) that’s true. It’s a serene place where I am in control and confident.
Every once in awhile, I have a Julie Powell-style breakdown. But those are rare(-ish) and usually funny afterwards.
I cook to provide for myself and my family and friends. I cook to nourish. I cook to relax. I cook to learn and experiment. I cook to comfort and console. I cook to reward myself for a long day of work. I cook to find balance and clarity in a world that is often far less predictable than the reaction I get from mixing butter, eggs, flour, and a few other magic ingredients to get cookies.
I cook because I started young. Or perhaps it’s more that I’m not afraid to cook because I started young.
I cook with joy and love. I cook the way I hug, which is to say that I try to funnel all my good thoughts and feelings and wishes through my hands and into the spoon or spatula, down into the ingredients, together into a dish, to transfer to whoever is eating my food.
And what’s more than all of this: I love to cook. I love that it’s something I can do, that I’m not scared of it, that I feel adequately capable. I love sharing recipes and tips. I love learning from other people. I love looking at food photos and blogs and shows. I love the look on someone’s face when they eat something I made and like it. I love it when they take seconds, or thirds.
I love a large group gathered around my table. I love knowing which friends want more salt, which friends need a squeeze of lemon. I love knowing the perfect way to make pancakes for Amanda.
Food is one way I connect with the people around me. And it’s about nourishment, yes, but it’s also about so much more: it’s about showing love to them, my way of loving the world, by telling it to sit down while I make it a sandwich.