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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

I love cooking, but I'm picky about it

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

For the first 15 years of our marriage, I happily delegated 100% of the cooking to my husband, Brian. He loves to cook, and I don't mind cleaning the kitchen afterward; it is a win-win.

But, at 40 years old, he decided to make a dramatic career change and join the Louisiana State Police. That entailed a four-month stint in the Academy, which meant I had to start slinging the pots and pans myself if I was going to enjoy any home cooking. My cooking skills were so sub-par that Brian had to teach me basic knife skills so I wouldn't injure myself while he was away.

Fast forward six years, and I'm still the one cooking on most weekends, and I've found that I actually enjoy it. Well, to be more specific, I love listening to music and drinking wine while I cook.

Cartoon Credit: Lee Fearnley ('Fernz')

My favorite type of recipe is the one-pot variety. Think chili, curry, spaghetti sauce, or soup. It's a slow process, and I meticulously follow directions. I take my time chopping, sautéing the vegetables, building my spices, and then layering the rest of the ingredients.

These recipes do not require complicated timing to get multiple dishes to the table. And there is always a long simmer, giving me time to clean the kitchen before eating. It's a meditative process for me.

Other cooks, like my father, love the thrill of experimentation! My dad rarely cooks the same thing twice, creating exotic, surprising, and incredibly delicious dishes. He can easily improvise because he has strong instincts built on a solid foundation of technique and discerning taste. (Incidentally, wine and music are also critical components of his creative process.)

Noticing precisely what brings us satisfaction in our work and hobbies can be illuminating. The same activity can be a comfort or a chore, depending on the context.

This holiday season, pay attention to what lights you up. What exactly do you like about it? What circumstances need to be present for it to be most fulfilling? And, most importantly, how can you do more of it in the New Year?

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