A lot of things have changed in my life since my separation. New home, fairly new routines, new car, even now a new job (well, same job different project, but still). They say the only thing constant is change. There was one particular thing that was really different that I certainly did not expect. I am an avid home cook. I love to get in the kitchen and prepare delicious meals. I basically would cook every night for the two of us adults (the children’s palates are, shall we say, less developed for Mommy’s cooking). He always loved my cooking and would make that well known so cooking us dinner was a joyful, loving experience. In the end, I didn’t cook as much, it was too exhausting. It wasn’t enjoyable anymore.
When I settled into my new home, I wanted to get back into the kitchen again. I knew it was something that made me happy and I needed to renew the joy for myself. So, I set about cooking myself the meals that I had made for me and my ex. A strange thing happened. They didn’t taste good anymore. My absolute favorite meals fell flat and I didn’t understand why. So, I stopped trying to make a “recipe” and just stuck to meat, veg, starch, seasoned accordingly. BORING. I like a fancy meal, it makes me happy. So, I realized that the meals I was making were still meals “for us” and not meals “for me.” When you cook with love, it shows in the food, and I was cooking meals that I loved but I wasn’t cooking them WITH love, so they tasted bland and uninspired. So, I am making a pledge to get back into the kitchen for ME. Because I need to love myself and feed myself with love.
I started this past weekend with a new recipe: Chicken Cacciatore from the Scottos on the Today show. I liked this recipe for three reasons: 1. It required me butchering down a whole chicken, which I love to do (I know, I’m a weirdo), 2. It is a one pot dish which saves on washing, and 3. It would provide me with 4 meals that are perfect for work lunches or a dinner reheat. #3 is my trick for cooking for one… cook for 2 or 3 or 4 and you can feed yourself for days.
Anyways, so I set to work. First: to butcher the chicken. I find it a very zen activity, which some people find strange. Plus, sometimes the whole chicken is on sale for around $3.00. I also save the carcasses and freeze them to make chicken stock later. Anyways, so I took knife to bird and got the job done.
Two breasts, two drumsticks, two thighs for the recipe and the wings, tenders, and carcass into the freezer for later use. Ahhhh that felt good. Maybe it’s a little bit of agression getting out (popping joints is therapeutic, people), maybe it’s the satisfaction of a job well done, maybe it’s feeling like more of a professional in the kitchen. Maybe it’s all of it. I just love butchering me a chicken. Call me crazy.
So then I set to prepping the rest of the ingredients and got everything ready.
Ah, the beauty of mise en place, everything in its place. I was ready. I was excited. This was going to be the meal that brought me BACK into the kitchen. Hmm…. I hope it’s actually, you know… GOOD.
After simmering and bubbling on the stove for what seemed like an ETERNITY…
I ended up with complete and total chicken deliciousness. This was what I was craving. This was the meal I need to feed me body, my heart, and my soul. A meal made just for me. Out of love. Because, after all, if I don’t love me, who else can?