Cooking: What Does It Really Mean?
I thought I had forgotten how to cook… This really bothered me.
There was a certain peace I derived from cooking for my family or friends, but the last few times I made my surefire dishes, it was a total failure. They weren’t cooked long enough, slightly burnt, lacked flavor, or just simply not good. Bob would say “I’m just not hungry,” but I knew he was. We had gotten into the habit of bringing in, taking out, late lunches, scrambled eggs, a cooked chicken from the market, or a turkey sandwich that would suffice for dinner.
I realize that the joy of cooking a satisfying meal was a leftover from when my kids were young and would say “great meal, Mom,” and I would feel that all’s right with the world. My mothering was intact!
Let’s face it, Bob did not marry me for my cooking, but when I would make him a meatloaf, chicken or brisket and he would say “I’m in heaven,” it gave me that great “mother knows best” kind-of-feeling again. I liked it! When those meals failed, I thought maybe my cooking days are over. Maybe it was the electric stove or that my timing was just… “off.” I didn’t know. I said to myself: that’s it. I’m through. Maybe, I just forgot until…
But first, a little back story. Two days ago, I noticed Bob hadn’t been eating a lot lately; he looked thin, and not only was that unhealthy, but I felt guilty! I said to him, “I’m going to make you a meatloaf tomorrow. Enough of these catch-as-catch-can dinners. I’m going to try one more time.
…We went to the market together, bought the ingredients together, and today, while he tried to remember how to play golf, I tried to remember how to cook… a meatloaf.
Okay, Alexa. Play some Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars, and let’s go! As I peeled the potatoes, onions and carrots, I was singing and dancing. A girlfriend stopped by and we continued dancing as I was cooking. I had a good feeling about the whole thing! I took down my white and blue roasting pan with a top-cover (like the one we all had a million years ago), threw in my secret ingredients, and put it in the oven at 350. Game on.
My Student-Assistant came over to help with some mysterious things I can’t do on the computer, and we worked for a couple of hours while Bob was watching a baseball game in the other room. Meanwhile, I kept checking on my meatloaf. I basted once or twice, and it looked good, but it did before, too…so you never know. There was a lot riding on this one. My Assistant left and I went to go see if dinner was done. It was. I told Alexa to play Tony Bennet and called Bob in to eat. I put the meatloaf, carrots, potatoes, onions and gravy on the plates, added a little applesauce, (always a must with meatloaf), and set the plates on the table.
Bob took a bite and I held my breath. “I’m in heaven,” he said. “Maybe your best effort yet!” You can imagine how happy that made me. He cleaned his plate, BTW…
Maybe I can still cook, if only for a night. I realized what cooking meant though; it’s more than a meal. It’s really a love note, and then you get a thank you note back. It’s a nurturing kind-of-thing that makes both parties feel good. I felt wifely, in a good kind-of-way.
Tonight, it doesn’t matter what the news has to say. In our home, “all’s right with the world.”
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