I‘m not sure why this quote from Lidia Bastianich ** struck me as so significant. I tore it out of a food magazine and the scrap has been floating about my desk for several months. [By now you know that I often save articles that I read…] But this brief, almost pedestrian phase, really captured something for me:
“Cooking is something we do basically for others…”, Bastianich said.
The quote goes on, with more ‘kitchen wisdom’, but that statement of the obvious really resonated for me. Let’s see if I can explain.
I cook for others. I’ve always cooked for others. Without understanding it or consciously choosing it as a modus operandi, it is what I do. How many times have I heard our long-time friend Jill say ‘Cathy always used to bake…’ ? And I did. In my twenties, baking sweets and vegetarian delights was how I gave to my friends. In my forties and fifties I cooked daily for my little family, relishing that role, even on the days when I was tired of doing it.
I’m trying to unmask my m.o. here, “… something we basically do for others…” Yes, and, in the nicest possible way, it was perhaps how I controlled or limited the nature of my relationships with others. I fed them.
There have been only a very few people whom I have truly allowed to feed me. And by ‘to feed me’, I mean the literal act of cooking for me and a more figurative meaning as well. It was only in these few relationships that I could relax and allow myself to be cared for, without a struggle. It has not been easy to step away from my m.o., to trust and feel worthy of being nurtured. In each case, it slowly dawned on me that these relationships were enormously significant. They provide a tiny bit of balance in my ‘all giving & no receiving‘ life story.
My daughter has begun to cook for me, for our family. Twice in the past week, while I napped in my head-cold-stupor, she created dinner, cooking the food and setting the table, complete with a lit candle. She has fed me.