I do nearly all of the cooking at home. And it’s not because my boyfriend doesn’t like to cook or have some strange idea that I should do all the cooking, he actually enjoys it and would like to be in the kitchen more (I’m learning to let in him). It’s because I come home earlier than he does, sometimes several hours earlier depending on his work schedule.
This means I spend most of my kitchen time alone with no one else to keep me company except for myself and my thoughts. I don’t mind it though as this has given me an opportunity to talk the day over with myself, rant about all the things that have annoyed me and discuss whatever problem I’ve had or things that worry me. I find that if I say things out loud and not just think it a problem gets easier to solve and something that at first seemed like a huge worry cloud ends up getting a shrug and a “Whatever, it will work itself out somehow”. Add to that the fact that I always think better when I’m doing something that requires focus and I have my own winning combination. Cooking gives me the opportunity I need to think, philosophise and go over the same thing again and again until I either find a solution to my problem or just say “Screw it, it’s not my problem so I don’t care”. It has in a sense made me aware of how my own brain works and how I solve my issues.
Cooking has also made me more physically aware. I will go deeper into this in another post though, or else I will lose focus on this one. But I am more aware of myself, my breathing, how I move my fingers etc when I’m in the kitchen. In other words, this is my form of mindfulness. No matter how sad or angry I am, cooking makes it better – or at least easier to handle.
I think it all comes from my connection with food and cooking as something enjoyable, something that’s done because we like to do it, not just because we have to. If I do something that I enjoy, like reading, having a cup of tea or going for a walk I feel happy and at peace. That’s what I feel when I’m cooking. It’s a bit like yoga, I guess, calming, awakening, focused and strengthening. I love the smell of something frying in a pan and hear the bubble of cooking water, a sauce or a stew. It makes me smile to know that I’m doing something that I’m good at and that it will taste good once it’s done. All my problems go away in that one area of my home, the only thing that beats it is my boyfriends embrace, however cheesy that sounds.
Cooking is my therapy. Some years ago I used to write in my journal to get all my worry and annoyance out. Today, I cook and bake. If I come home feeling upset about something it immediately starts to feel better once I start prepping for dinner. Doing something as simple as chopping an onion helps me focus my mind in the right direction and I can see what has upset me in a new light. If I didn’t cook I don’t really know what I would do. I might write a journal again but sometimes I find it hard to find the time to sit down and just write on my own. Cooking is something I do nearly every day (that is, when we don’t go out to eat) and for me it has done my brain good.