I generally consider myself a cheery person. I like to think that I am pleasant and that people like to be around me. But I have recently realized that I am a nightmare in the kitchen or rather my boyfriend, Matt, told me I was (He said it very sweetly of course so I wanted to hug him and not punch him). I love to cook but when I am cooking I’m controlling, tense, and almost always frantic. Not a pretty picture, is it? So I have set out on a search for the root of my nightmarish tendencies.
My dad is an excellent cook. Food has always been his major creative outlet. He understands food; what flavors work together, how to make a recipe even better, etc. When I am home I like to be his sous chef, helping when I can and trying to pick up as many new techniques as possible. Now, I love my Dad very much but he can be a little controlling in the kitchen. He will ask me to help by doing something simple, like peeling potatoes, but he will abandon his dish to look over my shoulder to make sure I’m doing it correctly. I have to glare at him until he goes back to his task so I can finish peeling or chopping MY WAY. During this Thanksgiving we were going about our usual routine of him hovering and me glaring when I had what Oprah calls an AHA! Moment. This is what I do to Matt! I will ask him to help me with dinner but then I will critique or hover while he is grating cheese or draining the noodles. Good Lord! Who cares how he does it as long as the cheese gets grated and the noodles get drained. I shared this revelation with my dad and we both agreed we would work on relinquishing a little culinary control.
Now I mentioned that I am also tense and a little frantic when cooking, but this is just because I am a good person ;). In my family you show people you love them through food. When we are home my mom spoils us with homemade rolls or fresh squeezed orange juice. And my dad will bring me a sandwich when he picks me up from the bus station. I love this tradition. I like to show my friends, roommates and Matt how much I care about them by making a fancy dinner or their favorite treat. But I realized, as my loved ones stare at me in horror as I run around the kitchen like a PMSing bat out of hell that this is not a great way to show love. I need to ease up on my desire to make the perfect meal and actually enjoy the time I get to spend with the great people in my life. Some would suggest abandoning trying to emulate Giada and just order take out but as I mentioned I do love to cook. So I’m admitting I have a problem (the first step) and I’m going to make a conscious effort to be more pleasant while cooking. I’m preparing a holiday dinner for some friends tonight which will be a great test. I have already done most of the shopping and prepared some of the dishes last night. And if that doesn’t help, I’ll just drink a lot of wine. Wish me luck! I will let you know how it goes.
I also like to show my friends I love them by playing the songs they request. Here is Lady GaGa's Just Dance.