I never quite believed cooking could be fun and enjoyable until I heard the story of another blog friend about cooking at her place and her kids all sitting around helping and chatting about one thing and another.
It wasn’t always pleasant for me. So many mouths to feed and so little time and money for anything fancy.
So often it was ‘stage food’ a name given to a mincemeat and vegetable dish that could be cooked up and feed a multiple of mouths. For that was how it was then, many mouths, always hungry and meal times a lottery as to who would like dinner and who’d spit it out.
Cooking was a stressful time because you were all the time trying to please the ones you were feeding, and they were so often critical.
Having a meal thrown at you was always an indication that it wasn’t satisfactory. Not that anyone ever tried to improve on what you cooked for that was stepping into the brink, and no one ever wanted to do that.
So meal times became so stressful it was easy to fain putting it off and then offering to buy take away as that was always a sure-fire winner.
It was different when my wife cooked, as then it was all hands on deck, galley slaves to the fore and a meal fit for a king was prepared. It took hours, loads of washing up and cleaning, tantrums and blame handed out willy nilly.
But she needed to demonstrate her skills and satisfy her audience.
It’s a long time since those days, and things have changed a lot.
Cooking through some quirk of fate has become enjoyable. We have family dinners now where the kids come round with their families, everyone brings something, and they often marvel at how my cooking has improved.
No longer is ‘stage food’ on the menu though they remind me of it from time to time.
It’s allowed me the opportunity to experiment, to try new dishes and tastes and so far it’s been successful mainly because I feel no stress, less anxious and look forward to the challenge each time we meet.
Recently a friend needed help to prepare meals for her disabled son who had been diagnosed with diabetes. We spend an enjoyable afternoon cooking various meals and packaging them for him. Each meal was checked against sugar and carbohydrate content, and we felt we had prepared some meals he would enjoy.
It’s so much easier to cook when you know what you prepare is going to be appreciated and not thrown back at you as sub-standard. That the people you are sharing your meal with are there to not only have dinner but to spend time with you and that has become apparent to me in recent years.
Sometimes I think we could have spaghetti on toast and that would be fine as we enjoy each other’s company so much.