Cooking nearly 30 dinners at home in a row helped me rediscover (or maybe discover in the first place) a love of cooking. I love eating home-cooked meals, and I do love it when they turn out, and I’ve made something delicious, but I don’t always enjoy the process. While I do feed large groups of friends all the time, most of them haven’t really seen me in action doing the heavy lifting. I won’t let them. Chopped veggies, flour, sauce, grease goes everywhere. Expletives and emotion explode from my mouth. When things go horribly wrong, dishes can get hurled into the sink. It is quite the sight and best for civilians to steer clear lest they become collateral damage. The most they’ve seen me do is the last minute prep such as whipped cream for pies or tossing roasted veggies in the middle of their oven time.
Once I had to throw together a dessert at the last minute, after all the guest had arrived but the one bringing dessert had bailed. I tried so hard to keep my cool with all those people around, but I finally (kindly) kicked them outside to the backyard while I angrily mixed flour, sugar, pumpkin puree and chocolate chips for some pumpkin chocolate chip bread.
Whole 30, however, forced me to cook every night, even when I didn’t want to because as I’ve written before, eating out isn’t really a viable option. So even when I was exhausted from work, even when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and wait for someone to deliver a pizza, I couldn’t. I faithfully stood at my stove, tossed veggies in olive oil and pan-seared/oven-roasted whatever meat I had planned that day.
I learned that this thing, cooking, is kind of like exercise. There are days where I will dread it and drag my feet to the kitchen, but once I’m there I’m always grateful that I came. I’m one of those people who gets a lot of satisfaction from work. I’m always grateful that I can eat food that I prepared. It always tastes better coming from my own hard work. I love the feeling I get from successfully completing something, and at the end of a hard day when I may have done everything else wrong, cooking provides one more opportunity for something to go right. And if it doesn’t, at least we tried, and NOW we deserve pizza.