I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend. I’ve always done the lion’s share of cooking in my house, and I’ve always more or less enjoyed it, but I had a flash of realization about just how integral cooking is to my personality.
I’ve read and heard plenty of stories about how people that were destined for a certain profession or role show signs early–and interior designer who was fascinated with colour swatches, a geologist that wouldn’t stop bringing rocks home in his pockets; that sort of thing. It was the same for me and literature, to no small degree. I don’t know if I was ever without a book in my hand as a kid, unless I was swimming–and that includes while walking to and from school, or in the tub.
What I realized, though, is that it’s always been this way with cooking, as well. I can remember being in grade 4 the first time I took over making a goody to take to class on my birthday (my mom had sent cupcakes up until that point). I picked a recipe from my mother’s cookbook and went to town. The result was a maple walnut cake that I kept making for the next three birthdays. As a teenager, I started experimenting with spices (as so many teens do…<wink>) and developed a curried/chili popcorn that would knock your socks off. In university, when most single guys I knew were surviving on KD, I was roasting chickens and boiling down the stock, or keeping a crock of gourmet chili on the stove for three days at a time. I guess I should have known then that I had a problem–My name is Sean, and I am a cookaholic.
This weekend, it was the standard Saturday buns and cinnamon buns–cinnamon buns for a Sat. treat, and buns to get the kids through a week of lunches. Then it was cheese bread and a quick attempt at homemade hummus. Then it was Polish potato soup…and then it was a first attempt at a caramel apple tart. It was a busy weekend, all told. It was a lot of work, yes, but I really did enjoy it–especially the stuff I’ve never made before. There’s something about the challenge of getting things right. Not perfect, perhaps, but perfect for me.