The Power of Cooking
As I approach the one year anniversary of my relocation to Wisconsin, I can’t help but look back at the ways my life has changed since I left my home state of Connecticut. I’m engaged to be married, something I never would have expected to happen in my life. I’m searching for a job, which has had its positives and negatives, but has been an interesting experience, regardless.
One of the most interesting changes for me which many people may not get, is that I have learned to cook in the past year. When I lived on my own in Connecticut, I couldn’t cook at all. To be specific, my ability to prepare food did not go past making sandwiches and/or using a microwave. Because I’m disabled and have shitty balance, I was always afraid that if I tried to use a stove, I’d end up stumbling, landing face first on a burner and disfiguring myself. This could still happen, I’ll keep you posted.
I could make any number of excuses for this lack of ability. The easiest one would be that I had a second shift job in CT, worked late quite often, and didn’t especially want to expend the effort to do much more than make a ham and cheese sandwich or one of those crappy microwave meals, which have probably taken years off my life.
I realize now that it has more to do with allowing myself to be convinced by others that cooking with a stove and whatever else wouldn’t be possible for me, and then just not doing it for a really long time. It’s easy to be ridiculously lazy about something when you have no reason to push yourself.
My fiance’s idea of cooking when she lived alone was something along the lines of cut up apples with peanut butter. She cited a lack of desire to put forth the effort to cook after a full day of work, which I understand perfectly. Although, sometimes I have no idea how she’s alive based on the diet she had prior to my arrival. Not that it was especially bad, it just didn’t seem to be enough food for a person to live on.
So when I arrived, I realized that unless we were going to order out all the time, and invariably end up weighing 600 pounds apiece, I was going to have to learn how to cook. I wasn’t sure at the time how much I’d be able to accomplish, given my physical limits.
A lot of my early attempts were trial and error more than anything. We have some cookbooks, but when you only have a limited understanding of some of the terminology, they really only provide broad ideas. It helps that Kory and I don’t really have complex appetites. The simpler a meal is, the better.
My father graduated from culinary school, so maybe the ability to cook is n the genes somewhere.
A year later, I’m a very competent cook. I wouldn’t call myself a master chef by any means, but for what we need, I’m not bad. Chicken, steak, salmon, spaghetti, lasagna (although I do this in a giant pot rather than taking the time to do all the layering and stacking bullshit). There’s more too, but I’m always looking for new ideas.
One thing I’ve found is that my view of the entire process. Initially, I viewed cooking as an annoyance, something that was physically difficult but necessary for our continued health. Over time and as my skills developed, I’ve come to enjoy food preparation. It’s now a skill a lot of people told me I would never have, which I was dumb enough to believe. Most importantly, it’s creative and it’s a way that I can contribute to our household while not working.
If anyone has any simple recipe ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments section.