I love cooking. Not so much the enormously complicated seven course dinner party where the boss is coming over type stuff, but mundane, day-to-day cooking. The mindless, routine, not-particularly creative spag bol type stuff.
And chopping. I love chopping onions. Every time I cut an onion I try to see if I can cut it a little better than last time. To see if I can get each piece to be a perfect square.
No, don’t back away – I’m not crazy. I mean it. In that case, I’m holding a very, very sharp knife – stop moving! Much better… Anyway, the unobtainable goal of perfect onion square bits is my way of meditation. Forget the day, forget corporate hell, forget the mortgage and the bills and just focus on the chopping.
I get a strange satisfaction having all the ingredients lined up across the top of the chopping board. I never start cooking until everything is there. Unless it needs to be refrigerated, I have it sitting there even if I don’t need it for several hours.
I could read recipes for a pastime. I read a recipe several times before beginning. The stately order of cooking, of following a simple plan (even if it is only in my mind) is bliss.
I love sharp knives. I have a set of Wusthof classic knives. I received most of them as a present in my early twenties and too young to understand what a gift really, really good knives are. I was like “kitchen knives! Uh… thanks!” Sure, I, even then, knew the joys of cooking, especially the joys of cooking my three course ‘get sex’ meal but knives I didn’t get just yet. I remember I was very very close to buying a different set of knives because – of all things – my knives had gone dull. A friend suggested “Ummm, maybe you should sharpen them, they look like alright knives” and once I was shown how to sharpen and maintain them I was hooked. Only more recently did I discover that Wusthof knives are ‘alright’ too. Thanks, Uncle Mike, I got it in the end.
Cooking for me is like what a bath filled with super-hot water, a bath bomb with a good romance novel in hand is for my wife. Relaxing.
Shit, my favourite Pixar film is Ratatouille.
And it’s an enthusiasm that has found a new outward display: cooking with my daughter. If I could only pass on my long time love of cooking and my new love of making music to my daughters I’ll be content. My only regret is that I’ll never teach my son to cook, and often I think this is the only reason I’d ever try again for kids but I figure one of my daughters will give me a grandson to take up the blades. That’ll be enough.
Ignore all that “get an adult to help you” bullshit – in fact, if you delete those words you get sensible instructions – the recipe is great and the instructions clear.
The funny thing was that of all the things I thought Jas would enjoy it would’ve been the mixing by hand the ingredients – but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. Probably lucky too – when she does mix, she’s dedicated. Sort of four hours dedicated. As it was, she was enjoying cutting stuff up and feeding the food processor.
It started two years ago like this:
And now we’re here! (Quicktime Video)