First off, I apologize for yesterday’s post. I was in a goofy place. But, since this blog is about sharing myself, I figure to include that aspect of me as much as anything else. Wouldn’t be a very truthful window in to my world if I guided your view, now would it?
On point…there is one activity that I love to do during these days off I have. One thing I always look forward to and will make express time for. As far as my personal passions go, it’s about on par with gaming…or even perhaps a bit stronger.
That thing is cooking.
Cooking, for me, is the best way I can express love and appreciation. It’s one of those activities that isn’t just a life skill, but a display. A medium to transfer my feelings to the person who I serve a dish to. Much like many writers or artists try to put their feelings in to shape, I do the same way with cooking. It feels even more tangible somehow.
I used to do a lot of drawing back in the day. I tried to bring that back around, but I ultimately was left unfulfilled. Making an image in my head translate to an actual image that others could see was just too frustrating, and I feel like creating stuff shouldn’t feel that way.
So, I started focusing more on cooking. I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen with my mother, and I would constantly go grocery shopping with her. So getting myself involved in making food seemed like the best step. I have been enriched by the art of cooking more than any other art I’ve tried to take up before or since.
Cooking, though…here are things I can actually craft. Now, to be fair, I’m not creating recipes–I’m nowhere near that good. I can make educated guesses on what flavors can go together, and I know how seasonings should work, but that’s not the same thing as writing a recipe. What I can do, however, is put together a recipe and make it turn out really damn well.
I’m still journeyman level, but the sensation of pulling stuff together out of raw ingredients and making them a piece of work that can nourish? That is POWERFUL stuff for me. It focuses me in ways that not many activities do. It lets me display dexterity, skill and technique, even if sometimes the dishes I turn out aren’t the world’s prettiest thing.
And even when I’m not really that successful, I still come away from the experience having learned something. Perhaps it’s a way of making things that I can apply to something differently. Or maybe I got close but not there, and should try it out again. I do get frustrated when something doesn’t work out, sure, but at the same time I can still sit for a moment afterwards and relive the entire experience. I can replay what happened, what may or may not have caused things to go wrong, and what I can try differently.
It’s like a samurai meditating after a battle and considering what they just did. It’s that sort of soothing.
But when I do get something together? Especially the first time? That is more confidence-building than anything I have ever done in life or gaming or anything. And then I get to repeat the results. Or refine them. Make it pull together a bit tighter, tweak it just a bit more, and then I get to share that mastery with others.
And the others that appreciate it truly do. They reciprocate all that energy and delight back and I bask in it like a plant in the sunlight. It refuels me in a way that my current job will never do, because who is going to honestly heap delight and praise on an office supervisor?
So why don’t I follow through on it as a career? Well, there are a variety of excuses–not reasons, I admit, excuses–that I don’t. The chief one being the cost to get formal training, which isn’t something my life can sustain. I’ve also heard myriad horror stories of people who went in to the business loving cooking as much as I do and then being broken down and never cooking anything ever again.
Also, there is fear there. Fear of being wrong, of being not good enough, of making the wrong decision and not having something to fall back on. It’s easy to say “Just take a risk and do it!” until you consider that there are people counting on me for stability’s sake. Risk is not a thing I can afford.
But that still doesn’t mean I can’t watch cooking shows and learn and delight in the technique. That doesn’t mean I can’t collect more recipes and cookbooks than I’ll probably ever need. That doesn’t mean I can’t try to make something for those I care for and love.
It’s my only art. And I’ll never let it go or become a burden.