Cause I’m a fat kid who loves food? Nah, it’s because cooking is my love language.
I think I’m using that term right. A while back, before we couldn’t hang out with people, I was hanging out with several of our other couple friends. And one started asking us about our “love language.” How do we tell or show people that we love them and care about them and they’re important to us?
I cook. I think that falls into the “Acts of Service” or “Quality Time” categories of love language. But it’s how I express my love and appreciation for you. I mean… sometimes cooking is just cooking. If we have 20 people coming over and I’m grilling burgers out back, it doesn’t mean I love all 20 people who are coming over. I’m fond of them, sure, otherwise I wouldn’t want them coming over.
But really getting in there and making a meal. Finding the right dish, the right recipe. Going to the store and getting the ingredients. Adding your own spin and flare to leave your signature on it, so they know it’s yours. That’s how I tell you I love you.
Many years ago, when I was young, single, didn’t have cable, and wanted to watch the Oscars (movie nerd), I’d call up one of my married friends, offer to cook them dinner in exchange for use of their cable for the night. We’d hang out on the regular, so this wasn’t a one and done “using them for their cable” type thing. But to show the appreciation for letting me impose on their evening, I would cook for them.
Whenever I’d have friends over, it wasn’t about ordering a pizza and just hanging. I’d cook a big meal. On the grill, in the crockpot, in the oven, what have you. I’ve even gone so far as to do homemade pizza in lieu of ordering one.
I don’t have any special training in the kitchen. My entire food service career was a summer job at McDonald’s in high school and a failed attempt to be a bartender. Maybe in another life I would have set myself down that path, and there’s probably a parallel universe where I am a chef. But alas…
I’ve been cooking for myself and others since before I hit double digits. I got my cooking merit badge for the scouts by grilling brats with my dad in the middle of an Upper Michigan snowstorm. It was my dad who kind of taught me to cook. He was always the cook in the family, had several cookbooks, loved watching cooking shows, and knew our favourite dishes offhand to prepare for us on our birthdays. I grew up with that positive energy in my life, and it just carried on into adulthood.
All that to give you a backstory into the special meal Kelsey and I have, which I will eventually “cook for” you fine folks: Salmon artichoke pasta. This recipe was handed to me by my aunt, it was a favourite dish of mine during the year I lived with her in California. It’s a simple dish but has a good amount of flare to be impressive. I cooked it for Kelsey the first time we said “I love you.” I cooked it for her on the night I proposed. It’s a special dish for the two of us.
I have a few dishes like that I can run to the store for ingredients and then prepare on the spot, no real recipe in hand. I’ve got it down pat. But I love cooking so I always seek out new recipes. New things to try. New things to challenge my skills.
Cooking also allows me to focus and almost meditate. I put on some music (usually the All Out 90s playlist on Spotify), banish Kelsey to living room, and just throw myself into the meal. She’ll occasionally call out “You need any help,” usually after I say “Ahhhh shit,” but that’s usually met with a polite but blunt “no” and I just carry on.
I look forward to exploring the skills with you as we cook and bake our way around this blog.