It’s taken a while to write this post for a couple of reasons. Firstly because I didn’t quite know how to introduce why this was one of the loves of my life and secondly because I didn’t want to blow the trumpet as it were.
But cooking. Cooking relaxes me. Especially cooking Italian or French food. Does life get much better than cooking a 3 hour ragu to go in a lasagne? I cooked once with Gino D’Acampo in Fenwick in Newcastle and he told me to p*** off because I cooked my own pasta and didn’t believe me! Or does life get much better than when you have the parents round on a Wednesday and that after a hard day at work you cook Rachel Khoo Croque Madame Muffins which the parents claim is one of their most favourite meals?
My ex cooked. He loved it. More for the showmanship and ‘oh look what he can do’ aspect rather than because he really loved it. And then I moved back to the parents and started.
I have this inbuilt desire to please people. Not for my own glory but just to please people. And somewhere along the lines I guessed that feeding people was a good idea. From the humble pasta dishes I cooked for the parents, to the homemade pasta and ragu I’ve cooked for 10 (with pasta hanging from ever conceivable surface, coat hanger and doorknob in my apartment), cooking has grounded me.
It centres me, it makes me think that if all else fails there are ingredients. To hell with the world, I’ll cook prawns in butter, olive oil, rocket, garlic and chilli, serve it with crusty bread and feed…. Well, me.
I would say I have lots of inspirations but what I really mean is that I use recipes. The Chiappa sisters, Rachel Khoo, Gino, Nigella, Jamie. All of them have played a part, and continue to play a part in my cooking adventure. I don’t thank my ex for anything except the fact that he started my, dare I say it, ‘journey’ with food. But not for his reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I love making something, serving it and being told it’s gorgeous. But my stock phrase is always ‘it’s an amazing recipe’.
Throughout whatever has happened to me in the last 11 years, cooking has been my mainstay. Has been my little anchor. I can always tell when I’m properly ill with the fibro because I don’t want to cook. I have a little mourning session and then still make quesadillas because to me that’s not ‘proper’ cooking. Maybe I’m odd. In fact, scrap the maybe, I am!!!
Italian and then French. That’s me. Bank holidays are my ‘make fresh pasta’ time because I’ve had a little time to rest. Plus I love Italy. I went to Paris for the umpteenth time and managed to eat Italian food two out of the three nights I was there. And, funnily enough, drink Campari Spritz even though it wasn’t on the menu,,,,
I don’t know if anyone else out there defines their fibro by the amount of cooking they are able to do, but for me, right now, that’s how I am. I love it, but I’m struggling. And I hate myself for that, even though I shouldn’t. But it’s me, it’s what I do. And so not being able to do it is pretty damn hard, and pretty bloody difficult to accept. I do it for the parents twice a week, and for guests (Pioneer Woman Ultimate Pizza Burgers are planned for parents and guests on Sunday), but it’s not easy.
But hey. Tonight I didn’t order takeaway. I didn’t eat toast. I made quesadillas. I should be happy with that, shouldn’t I?