This idea is not mine and neither is the lesson.
However, I am sure the idea I am about to share
is something that has been handed down
for generations and has varied from person to person.
The idea of Grandma’s soup or a homemade dish
and the warmth of a meal is as old as time
and equally true, I say that food is love.
I say that sharing a meal
can be the most loving thing we can do
and secondly, I say that creating a meal together
and collecting the ingredients, combining them
mixing them, making them, and then together,
sitting at a table and consuming them
eating everything in sight is as successfully nurturing
as any antidepressant in the world.
I say that going at this together
or creating a dish with someone you love
and working on this together, as a team,
this is love.
Now . . .
There are times of the brokenhearted.
There are times when the soul feels beaten
and there are times in life
when we are alone in every sense of the word.
There are times when it seems
as if no one is on our side
and everything is wrong – or about to go wrong –
and in our moment of defeat, we need something
to nurture our soul.
It was a time like this
when I created the best meal in the entire world.
I loved everything about this meal.
I loved the taste and the smell of my home.
I loved my satisfied belly and the fullness
which was enough to make me happy and sleepy.
I am going to share this with you because
I believe this is the most loving thing
I can share with anyone
First, it is important to start out with the right music.
This is as important as the seasoning of the food.
This is what builds the mood
and starts the engine of connectivity.
Picture the scene, the kitchen, the place as you can see it
Next, you have to be prepared to sing.
You have to be ready to sing the lyrics out loud
and not care who or if anyone can hear you.
Next, we come to a decision and choose the menu,
which is the best part
because there is no one else who can choose,
no one else to regard
or wonder if the seasoning is too much or too little
because (of course) this meal is not for anyone else.
I was by myself, alone in every way yet
somehow, I was okay.
For the first time in my life,
I was alone without the need to regard anyone else
I no longer had to ask permission
or consult with someone about what to do
or what to eat.
I didn’t have to worry
about the addition of salt or pepper
or if I bathed my dish in gravy
or if I made a sauce that was fit for anyone else.
I can say during this experience
and at the time of my despair that
I created a way out of a hole that was deep
and even if only for the moment,
I danced and I sang
and I cooked and I ate
in perfect harmony with the universe.
So, cue the music and get the pots and pans.
And mind you, I am no chef and I am no special cook.
However, this recipe is a dish
that has helped me in my life and, therefore,
the meal might not resonate with everyone
but believe me when I tell you:
the recipe works.
At the worst of my times and during the lowest low,
I decided to give myself a break from grief.
I cued the music.
I started with a loud version of some personal favorites
I began with songs that were somewhat calm or mellow.
However, as the meal preparation took place,
and as the excitement and intensity picked up
I noticed the pace in my music picked up as well –
and so did the volume of my singing.
I placed my chicken cutlets in egg wash and flour
and breaded them to my liking.
I fried them and enjoyed the smell
that went through my apartment.
I made sure to cook the potatoes
and mash them to my liking.
I made sure to have everything I wanted ready
and on my little table.
My mashed potatoes are something I am very proud of.
However, due to the family restrictions on our secret recipe,
I cannot share too much of this in writing.
No, this is something
I would have to share with you in person.
As for the cutlets, in fairness,
I never fried up chicken cutlets before
and as for the ingredients or what breadcrumbs I used;
as for the process which might differ from a yours
or someone else’s;
I can tell you that everything I used was perfect.
I can say this because after the meal
I was fat and full.
The sink was piled with dishes and
I was without a care in the world.
I was happy for the moment.
I was satisfied and fed; but more,
I had learned that food is love
and sometimes, we need to love ourselves
Maybe I should make this for you –
But I’d have to play the right music,
which I hope you’d enjoy.
I could get some pasta . . .
Boil that and have this ready
Then I could get a pan and get it nice and hot.
Pour a little oil in it and maybe some butter,
but not too much. I can add a little fresh garlic,
chopped up, nice and fine.
Dice up some tomatoes and add this to the pan
plus, I could suggest a little bit of red wine to the mix.
Let’s add a little bit of tomato paste
to give this a little more body.
Add some spice.
Make sure this reaches our liking
with a little red pepper flakes (if you don’t mind the heat)
or instead, we can add a little cream
and give the sauce a pinkness to it
Then we can sauté some chicken
and then once this is cooked,
we can add the pasta to the mix
and let the pasta simmer in the sauce
to take on all the flavor.
Maybe we could have a salad
or an appetizer before the meal begins
and maybe the arrangement might go differently
or the way we cook this might perform in a different way,
but either way, the best part of this meal
is that there is no judgment.
There’s no right or wrong.
There’s only the understanding that food is love
the best experience
can be to feed the people you love the most –
even if the person is only you, believe me
the trick works because food is love
and I can tell you this much – I definitely love you.
By the way,
have you ever sat in front of a table,
filled with your favorite snacks
and then, you sat next to your favorite person
in the world and neither of you moved
until absolutely everything is gone?
It’s a good thing to do
Come to think of it
I’m kind of hungry right now.