Alone with a pot, a stove & a spoon

My older sister gave me my first cooking lesson. She showed me how to push a chair up to the cupboard so I could reach the peanut butter. She showed me how to unwrap and re-wrap the bread bag so the bread wouldn't dry out. She taught me to stand on my chair at the counter top with all my ingredients and cooking utensils, and prepare my very own breakfast. It was very liberating at three years old to be self-sufficient in the kitchen.

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Now twenty-three years later, it's a bit more daunting to be in the kitchen alone. Peanut butter and bread just don't cut it, mostly because I don't really eat either of them, at least not as stock items ingested throughout the day. Now that hubby's out in the bush, working and fishing and getting back to his manliness, I find myself wandering though the kitchen, dinner time fast approaching, poking through cupboards searching for the adult equivalent to PB and bread. Usually I settle on fruit, eaten standing at the sink, juices dripping down my arms and splurting everywhere. Or nuts. Or if I'm willing to wait a pot of rice, beans and veggies is like a 5 course meal in this single/married girl's life. I've tried to mix it up, but when it comes down to it, I usually want my staples. I want what's easy, what I know and what I don't have to think about.

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It isn't that I don't like cooking. I love cooking. But cooking for one isn't as satisfying. Sure if the meal's a flop there's only one victim but if the meal's a success there's only one winner, and everyone knows winning is way more fun when other people witness it. Real cooking is far more than boiling, dicing and stirring. It's about the company.

Some of our best dates have been spending the day cruising around the markets, picking out ingredients, watching the meal take shape based on what's ripe and fresh and looking tasty. Throw in a good bottle of wine, silly conversation, solid tunes, and now we're talking. I'll take that over a fancy meal in a restaurant any day.

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Still, alone in the kitchen I feel a bit mischievous eating at the kitchen sink, or straight out of the pot. It's like standing on that chair, three years- old, mistress of the kitchen with my very own spread of peanut butter and bread.It's a different kind of cooking. It isn't fancy or decadent in the ordinary way. To an outsider it looks simple and bland, but to me it's a little piece of self-sufficiency I've grown to appreciate.