Learning to cook

If you’d have asked me a few years ago whether I’d like to spend six months eating out every day, the answer would have been a resounding yes.

And if I’d had to choose between having a (hypothetical) cleaner,  chaffeur, or chef, I would always pick the chef.

I never really got the way other people enthused about food. Some food was nice, and some (a much larger category) was not. You ate to survive, and that was that.

But now, somehow,  that has changed. One of my favourite things to daydream about are the meals I’m going to make when I get home.

I wander supermarket aisles wistfully, remembering a time when there were no constraints on what I could make, just the limits of my imagination.

The force with which I miss cooking has surprised me. I yearn for markets where I can buy a single carrot, exactly one chicken breast. Cooking for one in America is a huge challenge. The emphasis here is on bulk; as large a quantity as you can load into your oversized car.

Lamb, real sausages, pints of milk. Parsnips. Roasting and chopping and mixing. I want to make my own burgers again, to knead dough and sprinkle breadcrumbs.

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I was lucky enough to be able to use a Couchsurfing host’s kitchen.  I spent over an hour making vegetarian cornish pasties,  making a huge mess. I wasn’t even particularly hungry.  It was a Friday night.

I think it’s one of the most joyful things I’ve done.

My tastes are still limited, but they’re expanding all the time. I am less afraid to try. I reach for food as colourful as my favourite houses, fresh and bursting with life.

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