I’m not sleeping very well, and I can guess why. International moves are not easy at the best of times, and a pandemic is a far cry from the best of times!
It’s an adventure, they say. A story to tell your grandchildren! I have all sorts of cynical responses to that. It certainly is an adventure, but so far not quite the one I had hoped it would be.
But life is like that, isn’t it? And that’s why life is a journey. If we could sit over a cup of coffee and write the whole thing before even starting, there really wouldn’t be much point.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, which I find fulfilling, relaxing, and a productive way of maintaining a sense of control over my world. Along with this, I’ve also been leafing through my cookbooks and rereading my notes. My mum taught me to annotate my recipes and so I have. My first attempt at making something and how it went, changes to ingredients or methods, any special occasions or memories.
But what really makes me laugh, what makes me wish I could give my younger self a hug, are all the mentions of who was with me when I first tried different recipes. How many times did that person appear in the cookbook? And then what happened to them? My attempted love stories through cooking. And it makes me laugh because I remember purposely not writing in someone’s name because I didn’t think they’d be around that long (I was wrong) and I remember proudly doing just the opposite because I thought I’d found something meaningful (also wrong).
My oldest cookbooks are eleven years old and it’s wonderful to reflect upon myself through them. The notes remind me how far I’ve come as a cook and how long it has been since I first made a recipe or got to know a particular person. Not only have my tastes, culinary skills, and cuisine interests changed significantly, but I have changed, too. I have to smile at the thought of what might be recorded in cookbooks to come.
Perhaps I’m feeling nostalgic because I’ve made the choice to conclude this chapter and I know what I’m leaving behind. I am not nearly as confident about what I am going toward. But that’s why they call it an adventure. And my future cookbooks will doubtless reflect the ride.