So, the boyfriend announces that he is going out to dinner with a few co-workers tonight, and the first thought that runs through my mind is 'great, I don't have to cook tonight!' I was immediately disturbed by my reaction, simply because I count myself among the dwindling group of people who really LOVE to cook. And now I'm starting to wonder if I actually do love it anymore.
Back in my youthful and carefree days, I would often cook for fun, even for adventure. I remember peeling my first tomatillo as fondly as some people remember their first kiss. Cooking used to be a pleasure, a form of relaxation and most importantly, something I almost never had to do. Back then, I could exist on a diet of greasy take-out food without any fear that my waistline would expand, or my cholesterol skyrocket. But that was many years, and quite a few dress-sizes ago, and my culinary focus has turned to healthful, tasty, well-prepared foods that are pretty hard to come by in take-out form.
Back then, I think I would have jumped at the chance to be able to cook for a living. In hindsight, I'm glad I never got that chance. Over the years, I've come to realise that just the thought that I have to do something automatically makes it much less fun to do. Occasionally, cooking a meal is still a pleasant experience, when I don't have to watch the clock, or when I'm trying something new. But I really do appreciate having the choice, on some nights, between making bolognese and making a phone call.
So, unless I win the Lotto and can hire a full-time chef, or my metabolism retuns to that of a 20 year old, or my boyfriend suddenly becomes capable of handling a razor-sharp chef's knife in a way that doesn't make me want to rush for the first-aid kit, I will toil away in a kitchen, at least a few nights a week, for the rest of my active life. And every now and then, I suspect, I might just catch myself smiling.
That's all for now. There's a pepperoni slice on the kitchen counter, and it's getting cold.