So I mentioned a week or two ago that I’m teaching cooking to a group of 7-10 year-olds at our homeschool co-op. I didn’t mention that I feel like a big faking phony. I am.
This experience has led me to examine my feelings about cooking, because there are many. Few are good. And teachers should teach things they love, right? So I’m an imposter. I’m pretending to like cooking when I walk into that class each week. I’m acting.
These kids, they figured it out. In three weeks time, they saw through me. One asked me yesterday, with a skeptical look:
“Have you ever done this before?”
Yes. Yes I have. And maybe that is the problem. I learned to cook in my twenties, because growing up in my house, food was a big deal, but cooking was left to the professionals. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve gone from cooking for fun to cooking every damn day for a family of five. It went from being an artistic and creative endeavor to a hellish requirement of survival.
That sounded angrier than I anticipated. The truth is harsh.
When my kids ask what’s for dinner, I have to hold back from doing this:
Now, my little one hour per week cooking class is not shredding my soul, because happy little faces keep a soul together. We’re doing fun, cute things in this class. They’ve informed me that in the future they want to learn to cook real food, which is kind of unnatural to my being. We made jolly rancher lollipops and monkey bread muffins and next week they want to make their lunch – grilled cheese and tomato soup – which I can totally pull off.
But kids, I can only take you so far. When I was your age I could make myself a bowl of Lucky Charms and call it a dinner. If you want to get fancy, you’re going to need a teacher who knows her spatula from her pie knife (In reality I do, of course, but I care not). And also, one who knows how to work the industrial gas stove in the kitchen because that will continue to scare me, no matter how many times the kind, cooky mom shows me how to use it and assures me I will not blow the place up. Please understand, my mother instilled a great fear of asphyxiation in me from a young age, and we often stood on the front lawn waiting for the fire department to arrive to check for a gas leak.
That only happened twice, but I was young and impressionable.
That same mother taught me how to be proficient at dialing -rotary, then touch tone phones – to order what you need. Now, I can speed order online or with an app on my cell. But I am not yet a master. There can be only one. I can only dream of becoming a master like my mom – to live a life free of cooking (unless I damn well feel like it).
Alas, I still have to cook and provide nourishment for my beloved family. And feed them, I will. Because: love. And I will continue to teach the young ones how to cook cute and pretty sweet things, because that is what I know, and hopefully, when they are ready, an appropriate master will appear to teach them.
Stop by next week – I’ll be reviewing the life changing program known as My Freeze Easy in an attempt to make dinner preparation less soul sucking.