Dinner is cooking and my taste buds are smiling. There’s leg of lamb cooking in there. I’ll eat part of the lamb tonight and save the juices for an onion soup I have in mind.
I’ve always eaten dinner late. I’m up until 2 or 3 am so an 8 pm dinner isn’t new for me.
I do love to cook. Dr. D mentioned that I haven’t made myself real dinners like I used to. He’s right. I was in survival mode with my health and in crisis mode with family which saw me eating frozen dinners and cold sandwiches. That’s not me at all.
I think back on my culinary training and how I felt this amazing sense of doing what I was born to do. I knew when I was 8 that food has power. Food is an awesome gift to give someone. It touches the heart, not just the stomach. I knew at age 8 what I was born to be.
For many years, some not so distant, I was troubled by the need to quit working as a chef professionally. Imagine a potter having to give up the wheel and take on a fall back profession. Imagine a rose gardener putting down his craft. It feels like a part of you has been taken. It makes you mad.
Yes, I do love painting and crafting, but my first love is culinary arts and all it includes. I resented working as an artist because my heart was still in the kitchen. After time I was able to accept the life transition and allow myself to paint without resentment and cook without longing for the old days.
I’ve come to enjoy creating new tea mixes. I’ve come to enjoy all the things that can be done with my convection over and slow cooker. Once I figured out water ratio to rice, I was able to properly use my rice cooker. I use my own recipes in the bread maker because the ones in the accompanying cookbook are always wrong. The instructions on how to load ingredients are soooo off it’s not even funny. These tools though, have been invaluable. They’re ‘disability friendly’ and they’ve returned to me a culinary canvas to create and enjoy the finished product.
I can’t stand over the oven or pull things out of the oven. I can’t stand up and peel vegetables and potatoes and such, but I have ways to get this done. There is no harm in sitting while cooking. There is no harm in lower the counter space to accommodate a wheelchair. For a good long time, my pride got in the way of adjusting cooking methods. My pride wouldn’t allow me to use a bread maker. That was the hardest to adjustment, but doing so lets me create items I can’t find in my local store or items I refuse to give an arm and leg for. It’s also good to know that everything that goes in my food I can pronounce.
Today I express my true love on real dinner wear with real silverware and a real tea mug. No plastic or paper plates. I’ll sit at the table and enjoy myself the way I used to. Single or not, a set table with dinner eaten in proper manner makes me feel good. I feel grounded, relaxed. A bit after dinner I’ll go to stage two and cheap pour the wine. I’ll move into the sitting area in my room and watch a DVD. The third stage is simple: the evening ends quietly. I’ll be content.
Of course I haven’t left out Mary Jane but her piece isn’t cooked with mine.
My culinary experience and being single gives me a financial advantage. I buy lamb at more than half price for one person. I purchase meats and fish in smaller quantities which allows for a variety to come through my kitchen. Knowing what I’m looking at in the meat counter , knowing the correct season for specific fish is helpful.
I am aware that some are unhappy when a person uses government benefits to eat well. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it said, “You eat better than I do.” To them I say, “Whose fault is that?” I eat according to background knowledge, my single person household and available benefits. Single with no children in Indiana means limited food stamps and zero cash benefits on the SNAP card. No, I’m not overflowing with government benefits but I do know how to wisely use what I’ve got. What is more, I’m thankful.