As I’ve no doubt mentioned before on this blog, it’s all or nothing with me and chores, or pretty much anything to tell the truth. Which is why the simple chicken soup planned for my sickly, sneezing family turned into a baking and broiling marathon of such epic heat that mere mortals had to get the heck out of the kitchen.
Left to my own devices while my spouse spent the first day of his annual winter head cold in bed, I drove a potholed obstacle course to my grocery store for provisions that I had either forgotten or denied that I needed. Upon return, unfrequented cupboards were flung open and out came a box of neglected raisins covered by dust from the ancients, an assortment of hoarded gluten-free flours, various coconut-based elixirs and a whole lot of foodie attitude leftover from the 90s.
Dinner still far enough off to procrastinate, I decided to use up massive amounts of rolled oats collected in a fit of food virtue by trying out that homemade granola recipe I’d squirreled away somewhere on my laptop. And after scrolling saved downloads in the tens of thousands, why not print out instructions for some GF scones I’d glimpsed in passing. This would also be a clever way to involve some shriveled currants that were even older than the raisins, and besides, the oven was on anyway.
And so, with every pan and bowl and utensil stickily engaged in the good fight, granola burning to a nice crisp on baking sheets, food processor belching wheat-less puffs of pasty promise, a chicken breast I forgot to thaw for the soup thumping around in my microwave, I discovered that I was in over my head, drowning in dishwater overflowing a sink crowded with dirty little secrets.
Where had my cooking mojo gone? I ruefully realized that over the years my husband had slowly slipped into the role of family cook, as my motherly pressures to feed a toddler faded, and demands from a public service job increased. My waning interests in cable cooking shows and fancy gourmet magazines were replaced by elimination diets and autoimmune protocols.
I am rusty. I have to start over in this kitchen, get comfortable again with that dance inside a magic triangle of stove, sink and fridge. Ingredients may be different but timing is the same. So what if the granola is a little dark, scones a bit dry, and the soup has too much black pepper. I can’t let silly mistakes and food intolerances shut down the satisfaction of filling containers with tasty fare that I make possible.
As for those coming weeks and years of culinary adventures, I resolve to trim off my fears, simmer some experience, and stock up on joy.