Imagine making pesto spaghetti. The long, straight, pokey noodle soaked in boiled water, just for so long that it turns into a wiggly, satisfying, bendy noodle. Then you pour oil into the pan and upon hearing the sizzle, you act quickly, pouring some of the canned pesto sauce because you don’t really trust yourself to make a fresh one. Watching the sauce sauté, seeing it thickening, your cells secrete dopamine and suddenly you are high as a kite. Somehow the visual of the sauce thickening around the noodle, the green colourful spaghetti with the occasional capsicum and the mystery mushroom, complete with the seasoning of some oregano and pepper, has now transformed you from a productive paper-pushing employee to someone who just wants to cook for the rest of their lives.
See, now you want to ditch this blog and make yourself some good pasta.
If you are anything like me and were drowning in the idea of food by the first paragraph, and hopefully, have watched enough food related movies/shows, you’ll understand that there’s something about cooking that doesn’t just end on the plate. It is not tangible. You can’t really quantify it, but it’s something; it leaves you happy and full, even before you touch your plate.
I don’t know how many of you reading this will get me, but cooking is something that has been very therapeutic for me. You see, the way I see myself, on most days, I am an uptight, righteous activist and will excoriate anyone who utters a word against equality and gay rights. Then comes quiet days where I just cook.
Cooking slows the world down. Suddenly, I don’t care if someone says cooking is a feminine thing to do. I don’t care that I have a ton of assignments due tomorrow. Hell, I won’t blink an eye if the F.R.I E.N.D.S reunion episode released.
Have you watched Julie and Julia? Do you see how happy Mrs. Childs is? She’s not happy because she gets to eat a plethora of French food. She’s happy because she gets to make them. Remy doesn’t care that he’s a rat, all he wants is to cook and you’ll see how happy it makes him, even if that means he has to endure some misery.
Those of you that are quite active on social media, you’ll have seen a meme where a guy pretends to be on MasterChef, the popular cooking show, and “plates” his very usual sandwich, trying to make it look delicious. However, I’m starting to wonder if that is the real deal.
Your creative juices are flowing; even if that just means that you are crushing herbs and gently sprinkling them on the pasta. You feel like you have established something by adding butter instead of the usual oil, because now your tortilla is softer to bite. You see the cheese melt on your grilled cheese and your heart drops a little.
Cooking feels like meditation sometimes. The detailed, repetitive dicing of an onion takes all your concentration and you are more than happy to let yourself float. For a moment, nothing matters than to have those onions diced evenly. Cooking gives you control. You are not anxious anymore. You are in charge and it’s your mission to get that choco lava cake on the plate and no one is getting in your way. More than anything, the sense of accomplishment is the icing on the cake.
Cooking may seem like a lot of work, but I don’t think anything else has had such a therapeutic effect on me. Leaving you with that thought, I’m going to go, make myself some good pasta.