I'm missing my kitchen at the Beachcomber...it's sort of where I learned to cook. Alex and Mindy, my dear roommates from that season of life came over the other night and asked me, "When exactly did you learn how to cook?" I had to think about it for a moment. My mom did teach me the basics of cooking...that mixing wet and dry ingredients separately really is important, that a nonstick pan must be treated with love, that a clean kitchen is a happy kitchen. I love my mom for frequently interrupting my culinary escapades with that non-verbal, yet very vocal sigh of concern. You may not think so, Mom. And I probably never appreciate it in the moment, when I'm trying to get something done the fast way rather than learn. But you are a teacher, in our home and by your soul.
And while I love the guidance lessons from Mom, when I think of how I really began to enjoy the art of cooking, I must must attribute this to the Lord. "I think the Holy Spirit taught me to cook", I told Alex and Mindy. As I've mentioned often here at myHandH, my experience of the Spirit of God is usually gradual, peaceful, and process-laden rather than extremely emotional or verbal or clear. So when I say that he taught me to cook, I can vividly remember coming home after long days of work or class and finding an inexplicable inner peace in experimenting with food. The non-spiritual would step in here and say that I taught myself to cook. However, I fully believe that God is present in our everyday. He often speaks to me most tenderly in the kitchen when I am alone, creating a new recipe, soaking in the quiet things of life. It is he who whispered, "My delight is in you!" as I discovered that a salad dressing needs 1 part acid to 2 parts fat...that natural sugar substitutes really can taste good...that meat can be tender without making you sick.
But here lies the problem: I want to be able to share this alluring art. I want to be so skilled and comfortable in the kitchen that I can easily and graciously and augustly guide my friends and guests through meal prep. And I believe that I will one day get to this place. I sure hope I will, at least. I've recently discovered new insecurities (huh all over the place, but let's just stay in the kitchen today) in sharing my passion with others. I know that one day, I will be a wife and mother and will have people running around, leaving me with but a trace of those precious memories of solitude at my college apartment. I will gain the skill of multitasking in time, I really will. If you've followed my tone up to this point, you're getting that cooking is more than just a necessity for me. It's a creative outlet and a spiritual exercise at which I hope to always be improving. But I must remember that wifehood and motherhood are not here yet.
Cooking may not be as much of a solitary activity for me anymore. And while I despise the learning curve in anything that I fancy myself "good at", there is grace and there is still (usually) a tasty meal at the end of the experience. I can still slip away and cook in silence, though I'm learning to love having others around me. I'm finding my place in this new season of life. My place as a daughter, an independent woman, a friend...and I am blessed to say that cooking is a part of each of my roles. May it be that I again hear the Lord so truthfully whispering over my heart: "I delight in your learning! I delight in your efforts!" Because he really, really does.