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(…) cooking shame and sexual shame have gone together. For each, you put the very core of yourself out there in a very pointed attempt to give someone a one-of-a-kind sensual experience, and to differentiate yourself, to declare, “Please notice and appreciate my singular talent” and when at your urging they sample and reject, well, it is not good. (…)

In my childlike innocence, I didn’t understand that the point of cooking isn’t fun or even duty, but rather to try to give someone something only you can give. It is all supposed to appear selfless: “I’m making you this pie so you can all enjoy it.” But when really, people would enjoy ice cream just as much, their enjoyment can’t be the whole reason.

We cook to make ourselves indispensable and special. I’m not saying that every moment of the choice is insidious and underhanded. Certainly, some part of my mother enjoyed making pies, and probably, when she first learned, she loved it. But then pie-making became something to get to the other side of. The prize was not the pie, but being the wonderful person who had made the pie, and this seemed like a stressful situation as you could guarantee the existence of the pie, but not of sufficient praise and attention as to have made the pie worth creating. (…)

We’re going to be totally satisfactory but unremarkable. No one’s ever going to fawn over what we made, but that’s OK, because we won’t be expecting it, so it won’t be missed. (…)

I made my decision not to cook anymore two weeks ago, and I have stuck to it. I have a feeling I have done this before, but this time, I really mean it. I am tired of the struggle to win and impress, to impress even myself, to be engaged mentally with food, which, if I just forget about it, will probably just present itself to me anyway. (…)

I went to sleep rested, un-buoyed by success, and un-flattened by failure.

An Argument for Never Cooking Again

listening while reading: Louis Van Dijk Trio – The Shadow Of Your Smile

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