Food is a part of our lives whether we want it to be or not. Some of us embrace it, making it a big part of our lives. Others begrudgingly do what they have to do to survive. And others see it as a transaction: x calories in means I must work out x hours per day. i.e. What gives me the best bang for the buck?
Personally, I’m the first one. A big portion of my day is filled with thinking about, preparing and eating food. My first thought of the day usually centers around … mmm … coffee. I don’t always eat breakfast, but already I’m thinking about the possibilities for lunch and dinner and snacks and dessert. Should I bring lunch to work? Of course, I should. But are those leftovers really going to sound appetizing after I’m stressed or will I just say, “Screw it,” anyway and go to lunch with coworkers?
When I get home, I think about whether I’m going to try the recipe that I tore out of that magazine and bought the ingredients for a few days ago. Or is my hunger going to win and make me eat some non-memorable meal thrown together in desperation.
I also have this weird game that I continually play with myself. I’ll call it Use Up. As in I like to see if I can use up all of some ingredient. I see a can of corn that’s been in the pantry for way too long, so I scour Pinterest to find a recipe to use up this fine ingredient that will never be used if I don’t specifically go out of my way. I then buy several items in order to use up this one item. More often than not, this game leaves me with yet another item (or two or three) to use up. The items I find hardest to use up before they’ve gone all wilty? Celery, scallions, cilantro. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of things to use them in. Of course, there are millions of recipes that use these ingredients. But I rarely use as much as they call for, since they’re not my favorite ingredients; And I live alone, so my recipes aren’t usually the sort that make massive amounts of food. Why do recipes call for just one stalk of celery, anyway?
If I’m not actually eating or cooking or baking, there’s a good chance I’m looking through recipes: magazines, Pinterest, cookbooks, the recipes that come on food containers. Yes, I look at those. I read them and think, “I will make that some day,” and cut them out. Sometimes I even make them. The thing is … those recipes are good. We tend to forget about them, since they are always there, but they are really, truly, almost always really good. Because those recipes have been tried. Over and over again they were tried and when it seemed like, yes, this recipe was easy enough for the average person—and yes, this recipe would make people want to buy our product—only then would the company slap this recipe on the bag that goes to the homes of millions of people.
I remember telling an ex-boyfriend, “You’d be proud of me. I cook now. I’m really good at it.” And he said, “I’m not surprised. You were always cutting out recipes and reading those magazines about food.”
I guess sometimes you’re more surprised by where your life is heading than those around you. They see where you are headed before you even realize it. That hobby you have that seems inconsequential to you is obvious passion to others. I’m always annoyed when people say you’ll know it’s a passion when you find yourself doing it all the time, but really, when it feels like puttering around your house, you figure everyone is doing the same thing. Sometimes, it’s hard to see what’s right in front of your eyes.