What’s Cooking?

Have I mentioned that cooking is something I truly enjoy? It’s one of the activities that keep me grounded and give me a great sense of satisfaction. The only exception being, when I entertain.

I’m still working on letting go, accepting what is, and surrendering to the process when I take care of other people. I have this unhealthy habit of taking too much responsibility for other people’s experiences. Call it control, a constant effort to look good, a heightened sense of perfectionism, or all of the above. Whatever it is, I’ve been watching it for years and I’m happy to report there is progress in the making.

I didn’t use to enjoy cooking. I used to be pretty terrible at it. Once I started experimenting though, I discovered that one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy cooking was because I’m not that great at following recipes.

I’ve played by other people’s rules all my life. Do I really need to do the same while cooking? That’s what happens when you try to be “good” most of your young life. You reach adulthood and one day you realize that today is as good a day as any to rebel.

It didn’t help that my mother, who was a great cook, often took a critical stance at my cooking experiments. I figured that if she doesn’t like what I make I don’t have to cook. And I didn’t – which of course brought about a whole other wave of criticism.

And so it went until I got married to a guy who loved to cook and eat. Not only that, but he was vegetarian. I never loved meat but no self-respected Greek was a vegetarian or had ever heard of this silly notion. And here I am marrying one. That ought to be fun . . . and so it’s been fun for the past 27 years.

Have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” We went to see it and we almost got kicked out of the theatre, that’s how loud we were. We laughed and laughed. It was deja vu! The memory of my mother’s reaction to learning that her son-in-law was a vegetarian was classic.

Today, 27 years and approximately 19,000 meals later, I can honestly say that cooking has become an activity I enjoy. I’ve even found cookbooks I love using as inspiration. I follow recipes now and then, although there are very few recipes I don’t alter. I love that I can be creative, experiment, and have something yummy and nutritious to share in the end.

For me, keeping it simple and authentic is the way to go. Who needs too much intervention when all this fresh stuff is here for our enjoyment? I love fresh herbs and vegetables; the more flavor and fragrance the better.
I’ve also decided that cooking suits my style whereas baking doesn’t. If I’m going to have dessert it better be divine. That’s what the French Bakery in our town is for.

I’ve found that being myself is all I can do these days and the people around me agree. I think I’ve found my tribe . . . but more on the subject of “tribes” later.

Stay tuned. . .

As a life coach and retreat leader, Yota works with women seeking clarity, inspiration, and purpose in the midst of life changes. Her approach is intuitive and deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation.

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