Humor from on High

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Purification (#3)

I was reading about a heart condition a writer had recently whose diagnosis looked something like this:
Premature ventricular contractions caused by stress, nicotine, caffeine--fixed with pills and a couple of lifestyle subtractions.

The analogy to my diseased ability to maintain a healthy relationship with a wonderful woman was not lost on me, but I'm comforted that the cause and solution I've self-diagnosed is similar....in my case, we'll call them lifestyle alterations (within which are plenty of subtractions). I'll look into the pills later.

In my case the diagnosis looks more like this:
Premature relationship fracture caused by long-distance, for-granted taking, and various neuroses (including unhealthy boundary drawing, self-involvement, and vestigial sense of responsibility)--fixed with lifestyle changes leading to growth of personal character.

In the meantime, here's the latest installment of the big P, which is in and of itself supposed to be therapy too:

3. Cook for yourself. Hmmm...McDonald's or Wendys? No wait...Papa John's new deep dish? Mmm no...just had that... Chipotle? Chipotle. That guacamole is like crack.

These are the kinds of inner monologues that indicate that my gut has shit for brains (to steal from Nick Hornby). I've seen Super Size Me. I know what non-stop junk food can do to me. Hell, I even studied liver biology in grad school and understood some of the numbers that Morgan Spurlock's doc was throwing at him. But you know that moment? That moment right after you've decided that yes, I am hungry....and yes, I should probably have something to eat because if I don't go now then Lost will be on, but I'm Tivo-ing it, but it is nice to watch live, but the Timberwolves are on too and I could watch some of that, but by the time those both are over it might be too late and I'll be really hungry. After you make that decision, that it is in fact the correct moment to eat, then you have to decide what exactly is the perfect thing to eat at that moment. If you're Chicks (my roommate & new contributor -- welcome!), you go to Chipotle or "make" cereal. "Cooking, eh Chicks?" we would say, and giggle like college freshmen, because basically, that's what we act like more often than we should.

But cooking for yourself is cathartic. At least, if you inherently enjoy doing it, which I personally do, and have since I first picked up that first cast iron skillet. Back then, I was probably going to try and take out my sister with it Bugs Bunny style, but still. Laziness though, has of late prevented me from doing enough cooking. Habits again. But now I'm going to mince myself back to mental stability and saute my way to sanity.

The act of cooking not only makes the food taste better (a LOT better), but you might even learn a thing or two about food along the way that you didn't know already...like the virtue of grey sea salt over kosher, the ingredients of garam masala, or what the F is a shallot, scallion, or leek. You also might impress a girl or two...one of them being your mom. It warms a mother's heart to think she's raised such a talented kid that can emulsify at will and braise with the best of them. One of my greatest simple pleasures is going home and helping my mom with dinner (particularly this Thursday--sweet potato creme brulee & curried pumpkin soup) and bringing in some new recipe. I stopped doing this for awhile, but now I'm back on the wagon.

Mostly what I like about cooking is the ritual itself; prep, cook, clean, eat. The cleaning actually happens during the cooking (unless you ask my 'landlord'), but you get the point. There is a sense of accomplishment about getting something done that really fits my To-Do-List-completing mindset. In a lot of ways, cooking is a lot like the lab work I do everyday...start with some cell culture media broth, dash of amino acids here, cup of penicillin/streptomycin there....OK, I'm reaching. But cooking does appeal to both the rigorous recipe-following scientist side of me, while allowing for creative tweaks here and there to get the best result. It is, if nothing else, a comfortable ritual and let's not forget, you get to eat what you make.

Still. That Chipotle guacamole is pretty freaking good....


At 7:59 AM, Blogger klutgen said...

Mmmm... chipotle. It's good to come home and smell something coming from the kitchen other than the leftover bag of fast food in the garbage. I think the cooking purification is a good idea. Soon we'll be sharing meals/leftovers again. My compliments to the idea. Ah, growing up.


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