On Food

On Thursday, our little drawing exhibition group met at Annabelle's house for lunch. The meeting went well; we discussed the sort of things we'd like to think about in the next year, (provided we can get the small gallery space - we find out at the end of January). I can tell you we came up with some nice ideas. But I was a little flabbergasted and shocked and saddened.

Annabelle, besides maintaining a beautiful large, rural property and having raised four successful young-adult children, the last of whom left home only early this year and having a successful musician/music teacher carrier and who sews all her clothes, is also a phenomenal cook, and combined with her gardening prowess, our lunch was... let's just say so much tastier and healthier than café or pricey vineyard lunches. We had a tasty bean salad, a baked egg plant and cheese dish, (out of this world!), a salad, as well as two cheeses. And a home-made lemonade. And a dairy- and gluten-free walnut cake with homemade black current sorbet. Her family eats like that every day. And not only were they tasty, but beautiful to look at. (Catherine said we should be taking pictures first; even though I had my camera, I was in a hurry to plunge in.)

I love to eat, but I don't like to cook, or more precisely, I don't like to think of what to cook. I know about nutrition and try to cook healthily, but for me taste and look of food are hit-or-miss. As you know I love to read cookbooks, but like a lot of things in my life, I know the theory from books much better than I can execute.

Since time immemorial, "Meg can't cook," was one of my parents' mantras and they were relentless in repeating it to me as long as I can remember, including in front of my younger siblings. You know, taunting me about my cooking was fair game. Looking back, I wonder what the hell is so wrong with parents who'd actually relish teasing a kid, even if it were true.

I used to enjoy cooking. And even more so baking; I particularly liked fancy showing desserts. And I wasn't that bad. I didn't learn to cook from my mother but from American cookbooks in the first instance, and from my first homestay mom Kathy in the second, so my taste palate was/is different from my family's. But I was keen and experimental.

Eventually, I  bought it. Without knowing I did. I stopped cooking unless I absolutely had to; and talk about self-fulfilled prophesy, as time passed, I became worse. I can't even remember when as it was not a conscious decision, but sometime after we were married, sometime after we came to New Zealand. Besides, Ben's the better cook, so why bother.

Funny how a lovely lunch would bring back so much sadness.

Annabelle reminded me that eating simple, good food can bring so much joy into life. I have to do something.

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Speaking of groups, some members of Strands/Group R are involved in a three-day Summer School in Nelson called Creative Journeys: Maria, upcycle sewing; Ronnie, art journaling; and though not Strands, Stella from the bookshop, jewelry from found objects. Jo is not teaching as she is in charge of the Admin this time.

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Speaking of classes, I withdrew from Kay Faulkner's weaving workshop next April. The travel arrangement became just too hard to work out and... I couldn't be bothered. 


Jane said...

I have a similar, although more self induced, thing with sewing which I'm starting to address. I'm starting with really basic things so that I can succeed. There is very little that can't be learned... Give it a try and change those words from "Meg can't cook" to "Meg can cook"...

Meg said...

When I cook, I'll most definitely be thinking about you sewing, Jane!

Maria Julkunen said...

Hey Meg I'm working on the same project with my cooking! Always reluctant in the kitchen I've had to admit that when I'm excited about a recipe, I'm actually not such a useless cook after all. A bit hit and miss perhaps but not worth the critical inner dialogue I've had on the subject for years.

I'm newly inspired to relearn simple, tasty and healthy cooking. Suddenly I've said byebye to dairy for a while, use much less wheat and more buckwheat and chickpea flour. And more, much more greens.

Christmas has amped up the sugar and chocolate, but that will be very temporary as I'm missing my new lifestyle with new flavours.

Meg said...

In Nelson, it's a good season to try and cook/eat healthily, isn't it? Even we have some leaves in the weedy patches which have been wonderful to watch grow. And of course the berries and cherries.