Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Can't I Love Cooking Like I Do Writing?

I have a confession to make. I don't just hate cooking, I LOATHE it. Seriously, I can't understand why I resent cooking meals so much. I mean, I'm Portuguese. I grew up with mouth-watering food in front of my face and nose every day. But did I stand by my mom and absorb all the tricks and nuances of a great cook? Did I ask questions, test recipes, watch cooking shows with all the avidness of a cooking groupie? No, I did not. Did I appreciate the meals my mother put in front of me? Probably not at the time since I did not appreciate the skill that went into making them.

Now that I'm responsible for cooking for my own household (only because we have children otherwise the hubby and I would be ordering in every night if I had any say over it. Or eating popcorn for dinner) I'm feeling distinctly guilty for not learning this skill. Oh, I can do a few meals well (I make a mean lasagna and a pretty good pork loin roast) but I can't do those two meals every night of the week! I need quick, easy feed the hungry masses before they eat me meals. Tonight, for example, was Kraft Pizza and broccoli. Not exactly high culinary art there. But I just have to come to terms with the fact that I don't have the interest! There is no passion to my cooking and, if writing has taught me anything, it's this: in order to become truly good at something you need to have passion.

Unlike my lack of interest in learning how to make chicken soup at my mother's side, I'm more than willing to take courses and read books about plot, structure and narrative. Unlike my immediate stress at having to fiddle with a recipe, doing it over and over again, trying different spices until it comes out tasting the way it should, I love revising, playing with the words of a sentence until they shine and sound exactly as I hear them in my head.

So, that's it. I will never be an amazing cook and my children will have to live with the fact that while I can't bake them a mouth-watering loaf of homemade bread, I can hand them a book that their mommy wrote with her own two hands. It may not fill their stomachs but at least it was made with love. Plus it would probably taste better than the bread anyway.


  1. I have a feeling a lot of writers will be with you on this one. Cooking, I mean really cooking is like an art. And It's hard to devote ourselves to two different arts at the same time. Though, I enjoy the art of finding the fastest, easiest meals to cook that makes me look like I spent a lot of time! That's an art!

  2. You and me, sister. I contend we cook with our words, working up fabulous Meals for Minds. :)

  3. Oh my gosh, I can relate to this so much it almost hurts. I think the love of cooking is a gift... and I just don't have it. In a misery-loves-company sort of way, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one!

  4. Hi Linda: I love that description! Not sure my kids will buy it but I'm so going to use it!

    Hey, Hanna: We should totally start a club, m'dear. We'd only order take-out for the meetings. :)