Children and Cooking

It’s been a month or so since my visitors flew back to the states.  I think a lot about them.  It was a different visit than I usually have when friends come over.  First, obviously, because one was 7 years old.  And what a 7 year wants to do and how she sees life is very different from my normal viewpoint.  And secondly, her mother was the first visitor who had been to Paris, and knew what she wanted to see and show her daughter.  That’s great.  Not a problem at all.  But it was confusing for me at first.  Normally, my role is to show people around.  She knew how to get everywhere.  And sometimes had a different route in mind.  Again, which was fine – but different for me.   We also walked a lot more than I normally do.  I have the Navigo pass that gives me unlimited use of bus and metro for a month.  Yes, for a fee of about 80 bucks.  So I just fall into the “take the bus” habit.  My preference over the metro any day.  But the metro if necessary.

But walking is also good.  (She corrected my gait, did I tell you?  Shorter strides, pushing off with the ball of my foot and leaning a bit forwards.  And voila – no hip pain!  Who knew!??)  And with no hip pain, walking has been more fun.  And with the pushing off, well, you get there faster with less noticeable effort.  Again – who knew!

After their departure, I have found myself walking more than I did before.  If the bus will be 8 minutes, I walk to the next stop.  Sometimes I don’t even take the bus. My Fitbit is very proud of me!

On occasion I felt much a fifth wheel – unnecessary for their visit.  I don’t think that is true – but I did have to make many changes in my brain to redefine my role.  Overall, I think it’s a very good thing to be moved out of your status quo.

We went to many kids playgrounds.  That got me to thinking…  I know her mother and I recall she takes the grandkids to playgrounds all the time.  And did with her kids too.  I don’t have kids.  So I am not an expert at all.  I think the playground idea is a good one.  But I found myself thinking back to my childhood and I don’t recall every stopping at a playground on any trip.  My sister does.  But she’s almost 10 years older than me.  I grew up in the country and I think Mom just opened the door on a sunny day and pointed to the lawn and swings and tree house and said go play.

Now, however, I spot all the playgrounds blocks away.  Although I don’t have any young kids coming to visit in the near or far future.

The visit also made me think about cooking.  If you follow my blog, you should know I am not a cook.  When I was married for 11 years, I did cook.  And it wasn’t bad.  I had some go to recipes.  I even experimented.  But after splitting up, I have had no motivation to cook.  I just don’t find it interesting.  I can even have the same menu for a week without being bored.

Walk me down the spices aisle and I am unmoved.  I have no idea what things taste like or what goes with what on what.  But put me in a hardware store or an art store, I will know what paint colors go with what, how to mix them, how to make pretty much anything out of duct tape!  I made a duct tape purse one time.  And a duct tape vest.  Because crafts and art do interest me.

Fortunately, my visitor could cook and cook well.  The one time I tried dinner for the three of us, I was tired and ended up burning the chicken.  See.  It bores me.  Who wants to stand in the kitchen waiting for things to cook?  I asked a friend to send me ideas for an easy to fix vegetarian dinner for a French friend.  She sent me suggestions that used terms that were like Greek to me.  Do this…. Do that…   Huh?  I thanked her nicely and I paid for my friend’s meal in a restaurant instead.

My mom didn’t teach me many of these fundamental household things.  She often said she was too tired and I was the third kid so…  But I did take Home Ec in junior high.  I remember we baked cookies and sewed an apron.  I also hate sewing (even though it should be in my DNA as my mother, grandmother and sister are all excellent seamstresses).  I do, however, love to embroider.  Maybe that’s more like making art?

I am a bit intrigued about the chemistry of cooking.  That might be a way to lure me into the kitchen.  I always thought why can’t I just dump all the ingredients in at the same time and just mix it up.  Ok.  So different ingredients react differently together.  Heck, even when you put the salt on the food makes a difference.  Or so I’ve heard.

I can make semi-decent scrambled eggs but even then I get bored or distracted.  And my omelets never turn out like the ones I get in French restaurants.

Then I think, I am too old to start.  And I am finally getting over my embarrassment at not knowing how to cook.  It’s taken awhile.  Friends say – oh, just cut up the tomatoes for the salad.  And I have an existential crisis!  First, I have an allergy to raw tomatoes (they make me puke).  So I have always avoided them.  And cutting them up?  How?  In half the long way, the side way, into chunks, into slices?  Oh there are TOO many choices!!!

If people wonder that I don’t offer to help in their kitchen, it is not because I am lazy or rude.  It’s because I am scared to death that I will show how utterly helpless and clueless I am.  Let me set the table.  Let me make a centerpiece!

I am starting to step up and admit: I AM A KITCHEN IDIOT.  Not necessarily proud of it, but finally willing to admit it.

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