Cooking: a labor of love

May 23, 2011

A friend visited us the other night. He and I had shared many fabulous meals over the decades of our friendship, and our conversation turned to Bay area restaurants. Had we been to this one in Palo Alto or that one in San Jose? he asked.

We hadn’t.

I realized for the first time that we only rarely dine out.

After my morning coffee yesterday, I found myself in our sunny, well-equipped kitchen chopping and steaming green beans, broccoli and asparagus for a whole wheat pasta primavera dish I was planning for us and company.

It was barely 7 a.m., but I was having a great time.

The whoosh of water running over the produce, the repetitive motion of the knife severing broccoli heads from stalks, the crisp snap of green beans, the sibilant sound of gas burners, the warm steam caressing my skin as I approached the stove —all good.
I loved taking the tender vegetables out of the steamer and considering how I’d heat them in a frying pan with sauteed garlic, onions and roasted red pepper, then cover a mound of cooked pasta with vegetables and finish it with freshly grated parmesan and black pepper.

All my life I’ve had an outside career, work that took me out of the home. Cooking was an afterthought, or done for company. Today, my work is writing at home and I have the leisure and interest to cook well and from scratch.

It’s become a labor of love.

For a woman who was always too busy and modern to cook regularly for herself, making a meal now feels almost primordial, rooted in motions women have done for thousands of years.

It’s not that we don’t go out. We travel often and enjoy meals at a melange of establishments all over the world. But when home, we eat at home.
While a night out is great now and then, at this stage of life it’s enjoyable to eat food we’ve prepared with our own hands, in the comfort of our own home, sometimes for guests and sometimes just to while away the evening together with a book and our dogs.

For us, those have become some of the great pleasures of life.

One comment on “Cooking: a labor of love
  1. Cheri says:

    I can totally relate! And that, by the way, looks really yummy!

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