COOKING FROM SCRATCH
Made with love ❤️
For the next four days eat only foods that you have made yourself from scratch.....
My brain went into flight mode as I considered just not eating anything for the next four days. It's not that I don't enjoy cooking, it's just that I'm not very good at it! Testament to this fact came on Christmas Day when I managed to burn the entire family Christmas dinner! Now I don't mean a little bit crispy, I mean 'left to disintegrate while I enjoyed pulling crackers and sipping mulled wine' burnt. My partner Loic on the other hand Is an excellent cook and after a few disastrous meals we came to an unconscious arrangement that he would cook the majority of the time. Although grateful for the scrumptious delights on the end of my fork at dinner times, it hasn't done much for my cooking confidence. For Loic the answer is simple, "put a little love into it"! I do love a project! And so I researched a few recipes, headed to the greengrocers and prepared to try my hand at being a domestic goddess for the next few days.
Peoples relationships to food are fascinating. Growing up my father expressed a french appreciation towards food. "Manger-bien"(eat well) is his motto to life and he believes it should be enjoyed together, as a celebration. On the other end is my mother who saw food as a simple requirement to fuel our bodies of energy. She would simply eat and go but rarely indulge in food. These opposite values taught me one vital thing, to appreciate food. It was only by breaking down my new found recipes however that I was asked to fully appreciate just what I'm fuelling my body with. It also enhanced my awareness of the choices that I am so lucky to have when it comes to eating. It seems to be the more options and less time we have to make them in our busy lives we opt for what we think is the 'easiest' 'quickest' or the 'cheapest' but less often the one that may be best for us and often with a forgotten sense of gratitude.
Glancing over last years to do list I finally made the Granola recipe my friend had emailed to me months ago. And life changed as I knew it. Granted, a very small change but a change all the same- I would never buy granola from a shop again. Instead I would make it (two tbls honey, one tbs love), put it in a shiny jam jar(finally making use of my growing collection) and label it homemade. A little taste of humble pride. In many years to come my grandchildren will ask for my secret Granola recipe and I wont be telling them its really Nigellas'. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make and if I'm honest felt pretty happy having resourcefully prepared breakfast for the next four days at least. I took this moment to get in contact with my friend and thank her for the recipe.
It got me thinking about connection and the various ways food brings people together . I remembered a gift given to me by my sister on Christmas Day. A mason jar filled with all the delicious ingredients required to make chocolate cookies with instructions to 'just add an egg and some milk'. Had she bought me a packet of biscuits I might not have been so thrilled but this humble gesture of love and homeliness was both thoughtful and useful. Wanting to savour the gift for longer I placed the jar in a cupboard promising to make the cookies on 'a rainy day' or a future occasion. There's that word again, future. What's more special about it than the present I asked myself? And so I cooked them as the final part of my experiment and in doing so remembered my 'Great Wake up' Vow. Don't wait for the future, Do your best things now! I texted my sister a picture of the cookies expressing my gratitude and we had a giggle about my success in the kitchen.
To be honest I think this experiment was more difficult for Loic than it was for me. Involuntarily he found himself involved in the experiment. Passing over his cooking gloves to me forced him to shake his habits up a bit too. In losing the connection he so loves when preparing a meal and the down time he values after a hard days work however he gained time to seek out other enjoyments in his life.
Cooking from scratch has encouraged me not to give up nor give in . Instead of just accepting our weaknesses and going for the easy option Would it not be better to embrace them, challenge them and learn from them? If life requires making lists or sticking to someone else's recipe then that's fine, if it's creating your own way then that's fine too. Life is meant to be experimented with and if something doesn't work out try it again, adjust it or try something else. Don't just accept what is. Just do what works for you but most importantly put a little love into it.
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