Friday, February 24, 2006


"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

Virginia Woolf wrote that, and she was one smart lady. How right she was!

I love to "dine well." And for the last fifteen years, I've thought that in order to "dine well," I must rely on someone else's cooking for me. Be it my mother's broiled chicken legs, my father's barbequed london broil, an ex-boyfriend's egg casserole, or Grand Schizuan's Ma Po Tofu, I seem to look to another's skills in the kitchen rather than my own.

It's because I have few to no skills in the kitchen.

And in spite of this, I have managed to dine fairly well. I have eaten some gorgeous meals, and they ran the gamut from very expensive to impossibly cheap. Some were even entirely free of charge (thank you family)!

But now I've reached a critical point in my life where I want to dine well because I am cooking well.

I have been the good eater. I want now to be the good feeder.

(Well, honestly, I still want to be the good eater. I mean, come on...I'm not going to forsake putting awesome things in my mouth just because I'll be the one preparing them!)

Beginning is the hard part; I know.

Last night was a measly attempt, but it was an attempt!
I made a salad.
It had iceberg lettuce, baby carrots, and radicchio.
Then I took a can of chunk-lite tuna, mixed it with some miracle whip, fresh ground pepper, and a dash of rice-wine vinegar.
I put this tuna mixture on my salad.
I ate my salad.
It was...good...ish.
It was mostly "meh."

I have visions of stuffing a young chicken with lemons and garlic and rubbing its skin with rosemary and roasting it to crispy-juicy perfection.

I imagine simmering a pot of homemade tomato sauce, thick with peppers and onions and filling the apartment with the aroma of fresh basil.

Neither of the aforementioned dishes are at all difficult to make. They are not even difficult to make delicious.

But then I see my apartment. And I see my apartment's kitchen. And I see how little it feels like mine, how foreign the stove seems, how strange all the miscelleaneous cookware.

And I know it's an excuse, but for me it's a biggie.

Virginia Woolf wrote A Room Of One's Own, but my own work would be called A Kitchen Of One's Own.

I want one.

Until then, I will make feeble attempts like last night's salad, and perhaps my attempts will become less feeble. I'm sure there will be courageous disasters, and smoky debacles, and I'm also confident that there will be delicious mishaps and successes.

But eventually I will dine as well as I can, because what I put in my mouth will have come from my own hand.


Anonymous wilhelm said...

So close, yet so far.
You were almost there.
The salad part was fine.
All you needed to do was take a can of tuna - almost any type would do, but solid is the best of course, and Bumble Bee is the best solid. Anyhow, open the can; slightly drain; and plop the entire can atop your fresh salad. Then....enjoy! No need at all to mess with the inherent perfection contained within the little round can. Leave it be. It is fine. And after emptying atop your fresh salad, then you might choose to spray the entire combination with your favorite choice of dressing. Almost any will work. Next time, try this. You'll see. It will be supremely delicious. And yes, dear girl......ultimately everything tastes a bit better when made in your own kitchen. Alas, but perhaps soon...... Carry on.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Nils said...

Excellent commentary. Know exactly how you feel. Been there m'self. Brilliant exposition of a sentiment; a feeling. Well done. But do tell us a bit more about that barbequed broiled london steak you referenced. Sounded mighty tasty, indeed. More description, please. And we thank you.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dad? Are you wilhelm and nils? Because if you are, you can just start signing your comments as "dad."

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

It just breaks my heart. The thought of my daughter having to eat "meh"

4:49 PM  
Blogger garin said...

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