I love food.
“Unfortunately,” says my out of shape body.
Let’s be honest. Food is delicious. I don’t like making assumptions or “speaking for everyone” without their consent, but seriously, everyone loves food. The majority of America, specifically, has surplus food and can enjoy it. They don’t have to scrounge around for it to survive. While most people enjoy consuming food, not everyone enjoys making it. Not everyone knows how to make it.
I didn’t grow up cooking or baking or even caring about doing kitchen stuff. I’ve never been sexist about it, either. As a kid I’d always see my dad doing things in the kitchen. He typically did the baking, while my mom did more of the cooking. I don’t know when I got involved with culinary activities, but whenever it started, I was hooked.
I remember getting on a cooking spree back while taking an Independent Living class in high school. We learned how to make stir fry, gravy, cookies, and all kinds of wonderful things. At some point, late on a Friday night, I decided to make an egg souffle. I’d been told over and over that souffles were difficult to make. But some part of me longed to do it. I’d never made a souffle before, but I whipped out a recipe book, acquired the ingredients, and started right in. It was a huge success and went much better than I’d anticipated. Something inside me wanted to accomplish making that souffle. Perhaps it was because I kept hearing how hard it was to make. Perhaps I thought an egg souffle sounded delicious at that moment. But mostly, I think I did it because of the voice in my head that makes me do stuff I care about.
I attribute that inner desire to the same unseen force that drives me to write, make music, and engage other creative outlets. When I see something that intrigues me, I want to do it too. I love reading. So, I write poetry and stories. I love music. So I taught myself to play guitar. I love food, so I cook.
I guess when I want to create something I’m passionate enough about, I just do it. I don’t ask any questions. It’s something I must do. That isn’t meant to sound like a braggy little shit, but it’s true. Other people get hyped about cleaning or numbers or other crap that I don’t do. But I’ve found that trying my hand at piano or homemade alfredo sauce is more than learning the skill. And being comfortable in the kitchen is more than making food. It’s about confidence. It’s about jumping into something with the possibility of it absolutely flopping.
When I’m cooking something new, it’s like the front part of my brain already sees the finished product. It doesn’t believe in failure. It doesn’t consider quitting. It doesn’t ask why I started. Then there’s a tiny part in the back of my head that reminds me things could fall apart, but I keep him quiet.
I’m learning to implement this mindset away from the stove too: the ability to walk headlong into something thinking only about success. My negative talking and doubt and fear and worry have been more damaging than I could have imagined. Here I am, falling face first into something new or nothing at all. Gallup is done. Medication has begun. I’m trying hard to save sinking grades. I’m fighting to shake the devil’s foothold. Somehow things feel upside down, but something better is utterly, undoubtedly in progress.