Lately, my husband has been saying things like, “I remember when my wife used to bake me cookies…”
It’s true, I haven’t baked cookies–or anything, really–since the pie I made last Thanksgiving, which accompanied the Thug Turkey I basted with Hennessy. And this Thanksgiving, I won’t even bake my own pie–I’m gonna be lazy and buy one at Lucky’s! (I will cook a turkey, btw, and am considering whether I want to repeat the Thug Turkey with its beautiful juicy brown skin. But when I mentioned all the pie ingredients I needed Chris to pick up at the store, he asked me if it would really cost so much more to just buy a damn pie, and I realized that actually, it was about the same minus all the aggravation.)
Still, it got me thinking. Last night as I tried to fall asleep, I asked myself, “Why don’t I bake anymore?”
I used to find it relaxing. In college, finals week always found me in the kitchen, baking up a storm of brownies, cookies, cakes. It was a great study break. During my MFA program, I also baked more regularly, though I think that had something to do with my sweet tooth and my desperate need to stay skinny and so I’d cook low-fat versions of my favorite recipies a lot. Anyway, I also remember a terrible crush I had on a guy and the things I’d bake him. I’m not sure he picked up on the giant clue that was in front of his face everytime I appeared on his doorstep with cookies, but looking back, he wasn’t the sharpest tack of the bunch anyway. Thank God, sometimes we’re saved from ourselves by sheer luck. Or, in this case, somebody else’s stupidity.
As I was trying to figure out when I lost my interest in cooking last night, I remembered how the first two men I lived with didn’t see any point to eating together unless we were going out to dinner, and how easy it was to lose the joy in cooking when it wasn’t going to be appreciated or if I was going to be the only one eating it. The boyfriend I lived with in my mid-twenties was just as happy opening a can of Ravioli as eating what I cooked, though maybe my vegetarianism could be blamed for that. Sorry to my veggie friends in the world, I now realize what a difference meat makes to the flavor of most dishes, with the exception of Indian food. Indians know how to do vegetarianism right! And as for my first husband–I don’t know, he just didn’t seem all that interested in eating, period. So I got out of the habit of cooking. And now–though Chris appreciates whatever I cook or bake with the exception of pasta, which he’ll eat once a month, dutifully, because I love it–I only cook when I have to and I make enough for leftovers to last a long time and I don’t bake anything at all ever. I’m not blaming those two guys for my loss of interest–maybe it accelerated what would have happened naturally anyway or maybe I should have told myself I was cooking for me and to hell with them.
Whatever the reason, I got out of the habit, and now I’m realizing how small my interests have become. Oh, I’m interested in a lot of different topics–fertility, anything related to Africa or the U.S.-Mexico border, anarchy, health and healing, alternative health, etc etc etc. But in terms of what I actually do everyday, it doesn’t vary much. I write. I read. I grade papers. I go to the gym or I go for a long walk. We go to at least one concert a month, as many as we can afford.
I think it’s time I got out of this ol’ rut and started baking again.