Finding Comfort In The Kitchen

My husband’s birthday came around and his sister threw him a party. It was potluck, the best kind of party. I went a little crazy and brought quiche. Eight of them.

The fact that I spent hours over two days prepping and then baking quiche doesn’t astonish me. The fact that I found so much comfort in the cooking did, a little. I admit to going overboard. But it felt good to crisp up the bacon, crumble the sausage, caramelize the onions, grate the cheese.

Ever since I “retired” seven years ago I have been rediscovering simple pleasures, and cooking has become my place of quiet joy, of small contentment. I find satisfaction in chopping and peeling and washing. Every time I dice perfect little squares of onion I feel like I’ve accomplished something cool. Sauteing, roasting, baking — they’re all fun. The food processor is my bosom buddy. I am an amateur in love.

I discovered the joys of this most domestic of arts after I left KGMB. Going from a full-tilt career to full-time mom was jarring, to say the least. I suddenly had time I could fill with all the things I had thought about over the years — all those recipes bound in books and stashed in drawers and crowded into bookshelves and lined up on a kitchen counter. I had a collection of great cookbooks I rarely used because real cooking takes time, and I did not have an abundance of it. Every once in a while I’d pull one of those beautifully illustrated books out and actually make something, but it was messy and took forever, and never looked like the picture when I was done. So when I finally had the time, there was no excuse for not diving in. I loved it, to the utter delight of my husband and son.

And when we left our son in his dorm room in West Virginia some weeks ago I got it again — that unsettled, “What do I do now that I have a space in my heart” feeling. And once again, I found solace in the kitchen.

I am not and never will be a great cook. I would call myself competent. Those eight quiches I worked so hard on were not perfect. But perfection isn’t the point for someone like me.

The joy of cooking, for me, is in the doing. It’s in the intention and the creating and ultimately, in the sharing.

It’s in the love.