09 November 2011
cooking for one and for all
The smell of garlic and onions sauteing in olive oil fills a kitchen. As soon as the onions hit the pan with a quiet sizzle, the memory of chili, meatloaf, and cold winter nights starts to saute, too.
No matter where you find yourself, smell is reliably the same. Whether in Iowa or Glen Ellyn or France or anywhere, it's true that when onion starts to sweat and turn translucent, it smells precisely the same. It is a constant to savor, and there is ritual comfort in cooking.
Since I live alone, people often say to me, "But isn't it tiresome to cook for yourself every night?"
I smile and offer up two secrets.
One, I do not cook for myself every night, but thank you for believing me capable of that.
Two—although I'd hope this one wasn't a secret—I'm worth it.
I take great care in planning meals for others. Today is my best friend's birthday, and we're having a small dinner. I spent Sunday afternoon flipping through cookbooks to plan a meal that was just right for her, and then I scheduled in times to do the shopping, prepping, and cleaning.
I took great care for her meal, and I'm worth just as much care, aren't I?
I am—we all are—worth the excitement of planning and the ritual comfort of clicking on the gas burner to saute onions.