Friday, June 8, 2012

Reflections from a novice cook, half a year on



I just watched the film Julie and Julia after many months of meaning to do so. The film is not without its artistic flaws, but what an incredibly simple, yet inspirational story! I would be lying if I didn't say that I was perhaps also digging for similarities between the characters and I, especially with my newly found passion in cookery. It's been quite a strange journey: just seven months or so ago, I was far from being comfortable to even call myself a cook. Perhaps, I would've been confident enough to say that I could make a select few dishes from a particular sort of cuisine (say Persian or Italian). Today, though, after initially starting with some basic just-add-water pancakes, I can most-confidently claim that I can cook up an excellent Coq au Vin or Dolmeh Felfel along with many other healthy international dishes. And all of that from a tiny, ill-equipped, college kitchen.

Cooking has served to do more than simply boost my confidence, though. It has made our apartment a real home and brought our little family here even closer than before. No matter how bad a week may be, I know that at the end of the week, we'll end up making something wonderful that will, at least momentarily, melt away our concerns. Even when the result is not too great, the process of going through a recipe and learning what has or has not worked well is often sufficient to satisfy me. Cooking, in other words, has almost become a sanctuary for me. To quote Julie, "I love that after a day when nothing is sure... you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will be thick. It's such a comfort."