Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cooking for myself

Last month Bob went to Germany for a two week business trip. As I've said before, when he goes out of town or has other plans for dinner, I do my best to use it as an opportunity to make the meals that only I like. That way I'm less inclined to go out to eat, or (usually) worse, grab some take-out.

But two weeks worth of meals for only me? Even for someone who loves to cook as much as I do, that felt pretty overwhelming. It wasn't the actual cooking I was worried about; it was, like always, the motivation. Luckily, I had a couple days worth of pasta sauce in my freezer to keep me going until I found it.

So after giving myself some time to wallow in missing Bob, I thought back to my single days, before I got married. How did I do it then? Seriously, how?? I wasn't very interested in cooking and rarely even baked. But I managed to feed myself in apartment after apartment for years.

It slowly came back to me. The more I thought about it, the more I remembered the cans of soup and the other pre-packaged goods that filled my cupboards. Those things may have kept me from going hungry (and raised my sodium levels), but that was all. It wasn't until I started cooking for Bob that I realized and understood the value of cooking real food - and grew to love it.

I like to think that even if I hadn't married, I would have eventually learned the value of cooking for myself. Because afterall, the reasons I do it now, the reasons I have for cooking for the two of us - aren't those the same reasons I should do it for myself?

The answer, if you're wondering, is yes. Most definitely yes. Because we are and we should be the most important person in our lives. And while it's wonderful to take care of and love another person or persons, it's equally important to take take care of and love ourselves. Cooking for ourselves, satisfying one of our most basic human needs, is a big part of that.

Cooking isn't always fun or exciting, but we all have to eat. Most of us eat at least three meals every single day. We need those meals to fuel everything we do. And cooking for myself tells me, reminds me that I'm worth it. I'm worth the effort and the time that it takes, whether it's something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich or as elaborate as a multi-course dinner. And I deserve it.

I realize that there's no way I'm going to be able to motivate everyone to get as excited about cooking as I am. Or to love it like I do. But at the very least, we all need to know how to make a few simple recipes that can nourish us, comfort us and encourage us to keep on taking care of ourselves. I promise you - you're worth it.

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