Things I Do To Stay Sane: Learn Cooking

So, lately the significant other and I have been trying this new thing where every weekend I go to his place and we learn to cook something new. Because neither of us really know how to do things slowly, that’s actually translated into us making at least two new things every weekend, which makes for a very busy and very messy kitchen.

And I’m loving it! (This coming from someone who normally hates mess and has a bit of a problem with doing ‘new’ things of any sort). I come from a very steak-and-potatoes family. We were never that into spices, never did much deviation with recipes, and maybe ate from a full menu of around twenty items. I’m mainly to blame for that, considering the tantrums I’d throw if my Mum so much as hinted at making me try new foods. Monkey, on the other hand, comes from a rather large family that likes cooking all kinds of stuff, cooking all the time, and using spices that I’ve never even heard the name of before getting into this relationship.

It’s been quite the learning experience, having two people with wildly different tastes in food and different ideologies about cooking trying to create new dishes together. To date, we’ve made mulled wine, Irish apple cake, fried potato chips, french fries, Sheperd’s Pie, bacon and potato cakes, and red velvet pancakes. Doing so, we’ve cut down on the amount of money we’ve spent each weekend going out for food, I’ve been losing weight while still eating delicious food, and we’ve increased the amount of time that we spend genuinely talking to each other and learning about each other’s likes and dislikes.

Food, for me, has always been this kind of inconvenience. I don’t feel hungry often at all, but I need to eat or else I’ll pass out. It has enabled me to gain nearly thirty/forty pounds of trauma weight. It makes me sick on occasion if I eat something slightly wrong, or at the wrong time, or with the wrong things, since my insides are stupid sensitive. So this whole phenomenon of cooking food, trying new foods and enjoying the process, is new.

Part of that is Monkey. I enjoy being with him, I enjoy being around him and I am amazed by how much he can surprise me in the littlest ways two and a half years into this relationship. I could probably watch paint dry with him and still be amused somehow. (Don’t take that as an idea, love, it’s an exaggeration).

Part of that is the fact that I’m learning more about myself in this process too. I’d always kind of stuck to my old favorite foods the way that I stick to my routines. They are safe, I know they won’t bother me or trigger my disgust and stress me out. But in the past couple years of pushing the boundaries of what I can know about myself, both through research and through contemplative prayer, I am learning what new things I can broaden my horizons with. New foods may seem like a small thing to the average reader, but for me, it’s a big deal. I’m able to more correctly discern what kind of foods are less likely to be the wrong texture, or hurt my sensitive insides: Instead of walling myself off from new experiences, I am able to safely and comfortably branch out, one little step at a time.

Which, as a writer, I think is one of the most beneficial things about learning to cook with Monkey. Any opportunity that I get to learn more about myself, is an opportunity for me to better understand how I can best contribute to the world around me, whether that’s with my art, with how I should be focusing my observations, or in how I behave in everyday life. And doing it through the process of cooking and learning to cook, helps me to learn about myself while still progressing forward. While therapy and self-care ‘treating yourself’ is all well and good, a lot of times I believe it can lead to stagnation. Cooking new things helps me build up my skill set, helps me find new ways to show my care for others, or treat myself with healthier foods, and helps me learn how best to compliment my own taste with my significant other’s.

What opportunities have you taken lately to learn yourself in less-than-conventional ways?

So I Failed at Making Fudge..

which is odd, because I usually do so good at making fudge. Seriously. I made some to take to my dorm after Thanksgiving Break and I had people almost breaking down my door to get at it. I’m going to put this down to being tired.

Which means I should stay up and blog, right?


So I’m home. It’s crazy how much we decorate over here. We have two Christmas trees, lights everywhere, about five-thousand Nativity sets with snowmen and snowflakes and other holiday joy EVERYWHERE. It’s like being wrapped in a womb made of holidays. I love how all-out we go for Christmas, and I really hope that one day I’ll be able to do the same for my kids.

Which doesn’t seem like that far off of a goal, to be honest. My mom moved all of my boxes from the basement back into my old room (I lived in the basement for awhile so that my niece and nephew could live in there while my brother was finalizing his divorce…long story) and they fill up a walk-in closet. I’m pretty sure at least five of those boxes are Christmas ornaments alone. The other ones are mainly baby things that will go to my first daughter (who I shall name Michael Alice, no question about that) and then dolls, and old writing journals and drawings I’ve done over the years. I’m unpacking my Willow Tree Nativity set though. That thing is too beautiful to wallow in a box even for a moment, and it just makes me feel more at peace when I’m able to see it. The most unsettling thing about my dorm is not being able to see it. So I’m going to take every chance I can get to stare at it now.

I got to see my twin cousins today too. They are fraternal and five, with one boy and one girl (though the girl is convinced she wants to be a boy which we don’t know if its a trans thing or if its because she feels weird that her twin is a boy but honestly I’ll love that little monkey no matter what she (or he) decides) and they are in that stage where they just want to talk your head off. They dont’ even care if you’re listening. They’ll talk at a wall if there’s no one else there to fixate on. It’s adorable, but it’s also headache inducing. I may want kids someday, and I may even want a lot of kids, but whoo boy after today I’m really glad I don’t have any right at this moment.

Also, my little brother got his first paycheck today. It was upwards of 150$ for 25 hrs, which is honestly fabulous for a first job in high school. He seemed to be really proud of himself, and it makes me a lot less worried about his future when I know that he is at least learning how to care for himself and how to make it out in the work force.

I guess I have a lot to be thankful for today. I have a family. I have a family that loves to celebrate. I have a family that knows the importance of really going that extra mile to make sure people know that they are appreciated. I have a family that accepts all kinds of neurotypes and gender identites and personalities and styles. I have a family that treasures the joy of children, and respects the awe of old age. I have a family that knows the value of good food, and knows that that value comes not from the food but from the hands that make it. I have a family that works hard. I have a wonderful family who do their best to make sure I have a wonderful life.

I guess when I look at it that way,

I don’t feel so bad about failing the fudge.