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Kitchen Confidential

If I'm not out dating, or working, you can usually find me in the kitchen, cooking. Nothing fancy, just fresh, seasonal and delicious. Last night, instead of going out for drinks with the girls, I was roasting beets from the garden to feature in a beet, goat cheese risotto. To be served with pan roasted pork chops over mustard greens. I also roasted a tray of cherry tomatoes, a red pepper, and started the dough for grilled flatbreads, which we'll serve with the gallon of fresh basil-walnut pesto my sister made last night. Today, I'm going to make a cake, a butter cake with the last of the deep red Rainier cherries, and lemon curd. I love lemon curd. This morning I'm writing in between breakfast preparations: the pesto, a dollop of leftover goat cheese and a couple of eggs go into a cherry red ramekin and are baked in the oven. Served with whole wheat toast and coffee, some blueberries, and you have the perfect summer breakfast.

I wouldn't classify my time spent in the kitchen as love, but it's very therapeutic. Unlike in most areas of my life, I have complete control (usually) over the outcome; whatever I make, I know it will be good, it will be nourishing.  A classically trained chef he taught all of his kids early how to cut up a chicken, how to make a beurre blanc, and that asparagus picked along the ditch bank and morels harvested from a secret spot in the forest, are the most delicious things you can eat.

My grandmother used to say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. This may have been true in the past, with older generations of men, men like my father and grandfather. I have found the exact opposite to be true of the men I have dated. They have almost no interest in food, content to eat at chain restaurants, fast food places, see no difference between my homemade barbecue sauce and a jug of artificially colored, artificially flavored corn syrup goo. Spend 4 hours on an elaborate menu and they eat it and say nothing. Their mothers didn't cook, their dad might have dabbled with the grill, so they don't share my food values, can't understand why I would take the time, or spend the money on quality ingredients. To them it's nothing, to me, it's everything.

To me, good cooking and good food is a direct expression of how much you love yourself and how much you love those around you. My Dad, my kooky, bossy dad, will work a 10 hours day, outside, on the farm. And then, he'll come in and spend 3 hours in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove, because he loves his family a whole hell of a lot. And they love him, too.