The pleasures of cooking your own food

This is really little, but it made my day. One Saturday I was traveling with my best friend to the countryside (for a friend’s wedding). As soon as I sat next to her on the bus, she quickly told me that I looked great, which put an enormous smile on my face. And recently, some people have been telling me that I’ve put on some weight, which makes me feel fantastic that it’s noticeable. Isn’t it wonderful how sometimes, the littlest things can touch you in the perfect way? Well, it’s just a thought, but to me an act of kindness is a gift to you, as well as the person you give it to.

However, months ago, it was the opposite. I knew it was bad when I would meet people I know and they would look at me shocked. Everyone asked me what was wrong because I was losing weight. I started to hate how I looked. I felt ugly. But I didn’t imagine that my relationship was the cause. Little did I know, it was a toxic relationship. My life was deteriorating. Toxic relationships can drain the life out of you and sometimes you don’t really see the damage until you force yourself out. Finally, the relationship ended and I had to find self-love all over again. Through nursing my heart to health, I googled articles on weight gain. All the answers seemed to be the same. Increasing calories intake. More calories meant EATING! Eating lots and lots. I had to force myself to eat more, and consistently. I began with taking breakfast, daily. I usually skipped breakfast, because:

One, most of the times I woke up really late and it would be lunch time. I also wasn’t into breakfast because I had no appetite in the morning. It meant forcing food down.

Two, because of waking up late, my mornings would be a mad dash getting ready for classes and by the time I would be ready, there would be no time left to sit and have breakfast. I would just be rushing out the door.

Anyways…

Two years later, I now take care of me on a regular basis. I no longer skip breakfast. I’ve learned to eat breakfast and it has helped me to build healthy eating habits. My goal is healthy eating (to put on some extra weight), and the best way to do so is to cook for myself as much as I can. 

Since childhood, I’m obsessed with great food. All of my favorite family memories involve food (in some way). My most cherished moments include mom cooking hearty meals for us during weekends. And, so my relationship with food has been a loving one. Today, as Mom is ageing, I’m learning to cook so I can take over that responsibility from her and still make good meals like her. 

Cooking is a craft and learning to cook is one of the essential human skills. My cooking skills are nowhere near as good as I want them to be, but with continuous practice I’ll be good in a few years to come. If I’m in a good mood (or not feeling lazy), and with ingredients and some time, I try to make food that’s tastier. Cooking challenges creativity and encourages to discover new dishes. I don’t always know what I’m going to cook, I just take what’s available and use it the tastiest way I can think of. I also look up recipes (what would I do without Google?), and cook them myself. Some I recreate successfully, some I don’t. I love it when I succeed at a dish and I’ll curse for hours when I fail but I still love it.

Cooking gives great pleasure and is rewarding. There’s something about feeding people. I am always delighted watching contentment spread across my folks’ faces when I prepare for them a delicious meal. I find it immensely satisfying watching my younger brother eat chapatis or a salad that I made. There’s a special feeling when they say the food I cooked was delicious. It is a huge motivator for me to keep spending time in the kitchen learning how to cook. It makes me feel good to give someone something tasty and enjoyable that I made. I love the process of creation. However, when laziness kicks in, then I have no interest in food if I have to make it myself. That’s when I don’t see cooking as a craft, but rather as a chore. And that’s when I’ll be in the kitchen without a clue about what to cook and wishing take-away food in our area was readily available or that we had a maid to cook whenever I’m not feeling particularly inspired. Because my creativity doesn’t go as far as cooking 3 meals a day, seven days a week. Nah, that isn’t my thing.

On the healthy eating part, I’ve realized that healthy eating means giving up basically everything that makes life worth living. And that’s not happening, even though I have no intention of addicting myself (since that would kill me). I ain’t refraining from eating grilled meat, or fries or cheese so that I can live to be 90 years. What matters to me is the delight I derive from ingesting something that I love and enjoy. Do I feel good after eating a burger and fries or a pizza? Yes. Do I feel good after eating some sausage? Yes. How about after eating fried chicken? Very much, because it’s very delicious. I am forever grateful for the animals that end up on our plates, the meat which satisfies the carnivore in me. 

It’s always good having a good meal. And what a pleasure when I have a good meal, followed by a bottle of cold beer!

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

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