I should be writing this article, but I’m thinking about cooking. It’s more or less the story of my life.
I’m technically at my desk, laptop open, but most of me are in the kitchen, thinking about supper: sautéing greens with garlic, poaching chicken in deep golden broth, wondering if it would be better to use salted butter or grassy olives. oil, and if I have time to bake a batch of pistachio butter cookies before bed.
Most of me do little experiments ahead of time: if I brown the butter for the cookies, could I make up for the liquid lost in the browning with espresso? If I added ginger to the greens, should I put star anise in the poaching liquor, and if so what if we had noodles instead of rice, and if I threw the noodles away? in sesame oil and let cool a bit before serving? And then it’s 45 minutes later and I haven’t done any work, but I’m inexplicably Zen about it because that’s how cooking is for me.
This is the thing that calms me down; which has kept me going, roughly, over the past 10 years.
It’s been a strange decade, for many reasons – a grim struggle with anxiety for the first half; the slow loss of someone very dear for the second – but cooking has been my constant through it all. I’ve written a lot about how I started thinking about cooking – a pie – in A&E. I have said before that cooking saved my life, which is true; but it’s also worth saying that thinking about cooking saved my life.
Left on its own, my brain works overtime to formulate possible nightmares. I’m a former master of speculation, of inventing the kind of scenarios most likely to crush me, and I was even better at imagining them in detail. I could take fragments of truth and shape them into a believable and compelling tale that heralded fate. You know the sort of thing. It was like that, but all the time.
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This notice was published: 2020-06-05 12:00:00