Getting My Groove Back
The kitchen groove that is.
Since my Dad died, I hadn’t had much enthusiasm for cooking. Or for properly grocery shopping. I was quite content – and super grateful- letting Q do most of the worrying about food. There were a few times when I made some dinners for the family, but overall, the thought of being creative in the kitchen just seemed to take more energy than I had. And the 1 or 2 times I was in charge of cooking, I made such a big deal out of it, Q ended up taking charge and getting things done ( again I say, so grateful for him).
A few weeks ago I was looking through cookbooks thinking that would provide me the inspiration I needed to get my kitchen mojo back, but it actually sent me more to a sad place because there were so many things that I kept saying “I should show this one to Dad” or in the case of my Portuguese cookbook, it was more that so many things in there were things we wanted to make together or things that I realized only my Dad and I ate when he or I cooked it.
It took me a bit to get over that- maybe because some of it was unexpected ( didn’t think preparing soup for work lunches would make me so teary!), but also I think because it was just another hole revealed in my life now that he’s gone. And that’s hard– but it’s not impossible to get over.
I can’t say I had this moment where I said to myself ” get your act together KC” and just got excited about food again. I think it’s more that I realized it was time I started pulling my weight in the household food prep category and that in the end, I’m only being my worst enemy here. The nights I freaked out about food or felt paralyzed with indecision about what to make are me being hard on myself, trying to live up to some expectation of having some world-class kitchen and recipes.
The other thing is that if anything, my Dad would want us to go on doing the things we love, as well as the things he loved that we enjoyed with him. My father showed his love to so many people in a million big and little ways, but one of the most enduring ( and delicious!) was with his food. He made feasts for friends, holidays, and random weekends because he cooked his love into the food and that was something he passed onto me and my love of cooking. I loved being able to share that with him ( and my mother too)- many times our conversation would find its way to talking about the latest recipe we tried out or something we saw on the Food Network. I had to get back into my food swing for me, and for him.
Also, I’ve lowered my expectations significantly- I don’t have to plan elaborate meals or impress with every dinner– keeping it simple and tasting good is what matters. This week was pork tenderloin in the crockpot and last night, I made my first ever meatloaf. I’m pretty proud of myself.