The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Food and Me

February 1, 2012

Food and Me

I learnt to cook late in life. I'm not one of those girls whose mother passed down family recipes or who watched my mother cook family meals in the kitchen. My mother liked her kitchen to herself, and I somehow grew into an adult that did not know how to make a meal. Post college, I quickly realized that if I didn't cook, I was dooming myself to a lifetime of sandwiches and anything that could be warmed up in a microwave. It seemed to be a cruel fate to subject myself to, and so, bit by bit, I learnt how to cook.

My first foray into the kitchen was making a dessert out of a box mix. I remember being so proud of a successful pan of brownies that I declared to my room mates, "Look! I'm cooking!" To which one of them wryly replied, "That's not cooking."

Since then, thanks to staples such as Betty Crocker's Cookbook - Everything You Need To Know To Cook Today, I've learned to understand the difference between sauté and fry, become closely acquainted with terms such as "blend," "chop," and "julienne," and even browned a few tablespoons of butter in my time.

In learning how to cook, I've come to see how food, life and love are intimately intertwined for me.

Food not only sustains my physical life, it also sustains my emotional life. I've shared deep longings with girl friends over a simply packed lunch in the park. I've seen the death of a relationship over a pot of chili on a brutal fall evening. I've been able to bring home to those far away from family each Thanksgiving with a lovingly prepared turkey. Food breaks the ice, starts conversations, tears down defenses. Food unites.

Food is a symbol of love and care -- care of self and care of others. When I eat well, I care for my body, making sure it gets the correct nutrients in the tastiest ways possible. When I want to show love for others, I cook for them, picking the finest and freshest ingredients.

I've come to see food as a representation of the cycle of life and death -- something must die in order for something else to live. Food marks seasons -- greens in the spring, strawberries in the summer, pumpkins in the fall, and yams in the winter. Food is intensely emotional for me. It can not only make but also spark memories. I will always remember a certain Quiche Lorraine recipe as being the first time I took an emotional risk in a budding romantic relationship. But Quiche Lorraine will also serve as a stark reminder that budding relationships full of hope can die very quickly and with a lot of pain.

I desire to capture the beauty of food and life. I hope as I share my food life with you that it will inspire you to look at food through your own lens. What role does food play in your life and what does food mean to you?

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