So far 19 of you have offered to teach me how to cook for Operation: Recipe Swap! This does not even include the women who do not own the internet and I definitely want to include in this experiment. I figure I’ll need 25 in total, if I want to start right away and go right up to my 40th birthday (that felt ghastly to write). The difficult next step is scheduling everyone in, but I have started. Expect a call from me shortly.
My younger sister, Becky, will be the first to take me on. She says, “I am so in love with cooking right now, I’ve been contemplating cooking lessons myself!” In love with cooking? I was just hoping for joyful cooking. With that kind of enthusiasm, I figure it’s an excellent start to the year. Plus she’s my sister. She was raised in the same household as me. How did she acquire (even master) these skills I seem to have missed out on? Why have I not asked her this before? This conversation is long overdue.
Then my mom. When I first told my mom about my new-found determination to learn how to cook and write about the process, she said, “Well let’s go! I can teach you how to do a pot roast right now!”
“Except,” I said, “I have things to do right now…”
“It’s easy, you just–”
“And there’s more to it, like, I’m writing about it.”
“Oh, I see.”
“This is on your terms.”
“Yes, it is completely on my terms.”
So my Mom will be teaching me to cook on my 39th birthday, October 25, which will be a landmark occasion and possibly contentious. You’ll want to tune in for that one.
“What should we cook?” she asked me.
“Whatever you enjoy cooking!” I said.
“Then we’ll cook your favourite – roasted potatoes and chicken.”
At this point I picked up on the important clue that joyful cooking, for my mom, means making others happy.
This past week, I was away doing my social media thing at a pastor’s conference. I overheard a pastor (a man, no less!), the Bishop’s wife, and the personnel assistant talk about The Most Delicious Chicken Recipe. I felt that familiar zoning out as the pastor listed the ingredients.
“Wait!” I interrupted, “What did you say was in the chicken dish?”
“Chicken, mayonnaise [something, something], and croutons.”
ALMOST got it… Do you people carry around a notepad with you??
On the way home from the conference, I was telling my good friend, Jenn (she’s a pastor too, but for the purposes of this post, that’s mostly irrelevant), about this project. I was describing to her how when I do attempt to cook, I can feel stressed out, ill, and even, at times, enraged. I know that these emotional reactions to what should be a “simple task” are highly inappropriate. At this point, she asked me to consider whether fear isn’t a factor here. (Maybe it is relevant that she’s a pastor.) There is no need for fear in the life of a believer. The solution to fear is not to avoid it or have my saintly husband protect me from it.
Now, more than ever I am determined to look at cooking straight in the eyes and tell it, “You don’t scare me… right?”