The other day, I was at the self check-out at the library, when I got a good look at my chosen materials; one mystery where the hero was a cookie baker, one where the hero was a cupcake baker, Julie and Julia (the movie), two vegan cookbooks (I’m not, but what the heck) and an exercise video.
Given that I was taking a break from work — at my Cookie Shop — I think I may have a problem. Or, at the very least, an unhealthy obsession. I bet very few of you think about anything as often as I think about food. Doctors don’t think about medicine as often as I think about food. I periodically forget my kids BIRTHDAYS, for cryin’ out loud — I have no idea their classroom numbers or blood type, but I can tell you each and every special occasion meal I’ve made in the last, oh, fifteen years, right down to the sides. The only thing vying for an equal amount of grey matter in this skull are song lyrics from the 1980s.
To quote Inigo Montoya (and why wouldn’t you?) “Let me ‘splain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.” Number one; food IS love. People who say it isn’t are lying. Do you think I would come home every dang day after work, fight through the cacophony of demands to my stinkin’ awful little kitchen and cook very excellent meals, meals that I plan out a week in advance like a General plans troop maneuvers, meals that will be greeted not with shouts of delight, but complaints and demands (“I don’t LIKE carrots!!!!”) if I DIDN’T love these little maniacs? ‘Cause, seriously? It would be a whole lot easier to just toss a couple of packs of hot dogs on the floor and let them have at it.
Two; life is HARD y’all. Things often do not turn out the way you want it to and you are very rarely assured a happy conclusion. Not so if you’re baking cookies. What’s the very worst that could happen? A bad cookie? Compare that to a flat tire or a rejection letter or a scary medical diagnosis. Yeah, I’d take the cookie any day of the week. Besides, you can always scrap the baking and go straight for the dough. Cookie dough is always delicious.
At the very least, life is messy. Do you know what I fantasize about when chaos descends? Not the beach get away or weekend at the spa that others like to dream about. Not winning the lottery or buying a new home… No, when things get crazy in my life I want nothing so much as to go home and dice piles, no MOUNTAINS of vegetables into perfect, uniform little squares. Don’t mock. Think of it. Perfect order from imperfection. You may think I’m a weirdo, but at least I’ve found a tangible, effective and easily assessable way to deal with uncertainty… not that I’d mind dicing those veggies in a kitchen in Italy, mind you. I mean, I’m not stupid.
See? Cooking makes you happy.
Really, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to cook everyday. I mean, I know that there are people who hate it. Hate! The American family eats most of it’s meals out these days. Yes, it’s work. Yes, it can be a drag, but people… if you don’t love it, you are missing a golden opportunity. Cooking is an easy way to success when success is otherwise uncertain. Where else can you go from nothing to delicious in under an hour and guess what? Later today you can try it again.
Compare that with the stress of raising kids, where I’ve pretty much just accepted the fact that I’m not going to see any of those positive results, well, ever. By time they really absorb all the lessons I am attempting to beat into their skulls and become pleasant and civilized they will be grown and move away. At least in the meantime there are cookies and coffee cakes and paninis….
See? I feel better, already.