Not Really But I Cook For Medicinal Purposes

First I need to be honest...I am not a great cook...actually not really even a good one...but my heart is in the right place and when I do cook I'd like to believe that I cook with love...and lots of wine.

I'm a firm believer that food, good company and wine will go a long way to alleviate stress and keep the mental health professionals at bay.

There have been times, some wrenching with sadness, that cooking has literally kept me sane...when my 20 year old cat was dying on New Years Eve...I cooked up a meatloaf and proceeded to eat half of it and drink most of the expensive bottle of champagne I had planed to bring to the party I never went to...all the while holding my poor car as his paws slowly got colder and colder....when my brother called from Florida and said only two words, "Daddy's dead."  There is something so poignant about an adult man using the word Daddy and it wasn't lost on I cooked and bought wine and invited a friend over...I needed the friend more than I needed food or alcohol but it helped me.

And there have been times of deep stress when I lost my job, my marraige ended, a close friend died that I went to the kitchen and it became my therapy...I make comfort food..stews and soups and yes of course meatloaf. Through it all it is the friends that sustain me... the food and wine just an excuse to share.

Then there are the fun times when I needed to laugh or needed to herlp someone else laugh....once again, back to the kitchen...

 I haven't done this much recently...probably cause many of my friends are scattered but there's something so comforting and healing about sitting around a table with one friend or many and just plain genuinely connecting and sharing....

frito414 frito414
56-60, F
31 Responses Feb 22, 2010

Pedro you have double talents...yay! cooking and cleaning as therapy!!<br />
I am amazed at how many fellow spirits like you connected to this story...don't worry...I'll be cooking for a long time. xo

Yeo cheesecake is good too's all good. :)

Yes, I love cheescake, I could eat myself sick on it. :)

Me696 thanks for the kind're so right...the bonds do's such a nurturing atmosphere. :)<br />
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Imseekerofwisdom's evident your heart is so into this and thanks for sharing your story. Seems like your creative side and your nurturing side have both found the perfect outlet...when I need a question answered, I do know where to go now! :)

I love what Me696 said. Certainly agree with ^^^. <br />
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Related story to share. I"ll make it short.<br />
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Two weeks ago I had a concert to sing in. 200 voices 130 instruments.<br />
Dress rehearsal + concert next night. 86 miles each way from my house to it.<br />
Huge venue with a green room. No food intended or spoken of. Water "may" be provided in green room.<br />
I made all food for both nights and set it all up in the green room.<br />
I took it all away too, both nights which included cleaning it all up.<br />
Provided the plates/napkins/utencils.<br />
I'm not talking chips and salsa and a box of cookies.<br />
All things made were from scratch, took me all day for dress rehearsal and all the next day for the concert, to prepare food for both nights. Complete spread both night, from appetizers to sandwiches to entrees to desserts.<br />
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I did it because it's my favorite thing to do and it's also how I show my love. My pleasure.<br />
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Not a soapbox moment, just told to let you know how important being in the kitchen is to me.<br />
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Again, need a question answered, I think you know you're in the right place to ask.

"Breaking bread" with others, friends or acquaintances, certainly does strengthen the bonds. Friends and acquaintances become closer as they share a meal.<br />
You are a sensitive soul and you grow from all your experiences, whether happy or sad.

Yes, it's a way of focusing on what's really important...usually people and often sharing...thanks.:)

The books in the "Chicken Soup for the..." series use a metaphorical soup but you are so right. cooking is a great therapy, a way of closing off and concentrating where you need to be.<br />
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A heartfelt posting that i can totally relate to.

Lovely comment and thank you so much! It's always nice to meet a kindred "kitchen/nurture lover.<br />
And I love what you have painted on your wall! :)

Hi Frito<br />
<br />
I haven't come into this web site for many many months. Back in the time I felt I needed it, I enjoyed so much having "people" to talk to about whatever I was going through, although trust me, I shared very little.<br />
I'm glad to have decided to come back because places like this, are worthy and so important.<br />
About your need to hop into the kitchen. In silliness, I simply want to say one thing..."duh". Ha ha ha. It is meant as a place to nurture.... feed, enjoy, smell, taste, all the senses we use are found [somehow] in a kitchen. Think about it, the sound of crackling bacon, the smell of coffee brewing, the taste testing of that mac and cheese straight out of the oven, the feel of gently patting the top of a cake as if it's a baby's bum, to see if it's "done", the sight of the most glorious looking beef stronganoff you've ever seen. You've used all 5 senses, although I have 6. < That's another story though.... :)<br />
I completely understand why it's a "safe place to fall" for you. It is for me as well. If I'm stressed, I go in there and create. It's my tension reliever and my stress combatant. It relaxes me.<br />
Unlike you say about your own cooking skills, I'm fortunate to have inherited my grandparents talent in the kitchen so my story is not the same as yours. I don't have to turn my brain on to get inventive in there, it's just already there, turned on so to speak.<br />
If you like to read, pick up some cookbooks, take them to bed and read them like novels. Experiment more with coming up with things you'd like to tackle there. Invite a friend or family member over every [whatever your time fr<x>ame allows here] now and then. Even if it's for a Caesar Salad you're trying out. Or splitting a home made pizza you've just created or taste testing those wonderful Dark Chocolate Cherry Chew cookies that just came out of the oven and have them bring the milk.<br />
I understand about the mucho vino during the cooking process or just plain being in the kitchen and think it's normal for many or most of us to do that or feel like that somehow helps.<br />
For me, I opted out of the alcohol thing myself. It seemed to be a crutch, again > < for me. I was having health issues and decided to give that part of my "incredible experience in the kitchen" the boot.<br />
I shant tell you how to handle your life in that respect. That's all up to you.<br />
I will close by telling you that it's a good thing, for you to understand and enjoy the reason you always end up in the kitchen. Also I'll tell you that love put in your cooking and your food = love when eaten by others. So if you smile all the while you cook, it'll be evident in the results.<br />
Here's the odd part, need any help in the kitchen? Need any comments or questions answered or an idea or or or? < Just send me a note. I'm more than pleased to lend my hand and heart and mind to you in any way I can.<br />
I painted the border of the room going into my kitchen in red with black letters. Here's what it says........<br />
Because I love you so...let me nourish your being...<br />
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Be well.............

Me too....and it's such a nice loving thing to do for ourselves...I find great comfort in it!...sound like you do too! :)

frito414,<br />
Thank you for the comment.<br />
I even cook for distraction, I am single and cooking is distracting me from feeling lonely. There is no greater joy, than to chop ingridients,heating pots up,and do something useful, with your hands.

Eldorai thank you. love your term "paramount to my sanity..." :)<br />
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Mingvase37 I love your Christmas cooking ritual with friends! "Chocolate chili mousse" ???<br />
"...Scampi al pomorodo..." now you've gone and got me hungry....yum. Thanks so much.:)

Indeed very nice story.<br />
One of the highlights in my year is the second day of christmas, when me and like 8 or 10 other people come toghether at a friends house and start cooking one after another, till deeep into the night.Also with lots of good wines. <br />
During the year everyone is asked what he will cook, not the exact dish of course,but it is decide beforehand, who is making soup,fish,main-course,dessert, cheese....<br />
Never been a great dessert man myself, but my chocolate-chilli moussee is fabulous.<br />
I´m also known for a simple "scampi al pomodoro", which are like shrimps in a tomato-sauce.

Oh i'm with you on this totally! During my relationship with my abusive ex partner, cooking, wine and a fab meal was paramount to my sanity. he was pants in the kitchen, so it felt like it was my domain totally...and cooking a classy meal without wine is a sin!

Fromnowon, for me the sharing is the "best part!" :)<br />
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Gryfnn, like you I'm not a "great" cook but I love the creativity...your husband sounds intriguing and if you care to write more I would love to read some stories....your future daughter in law is a fortunate woman, but I'm sure she knows that! :)<br />
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LV, cooking can be a lovely distraction and I've found sharing meals and stories so comforting. Let me know how it goes! :)<br />
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Soursweet, you raise a valid point. For those who truly love to cook then not doing so would be denial of pleasure and makes no sense at all. Maybe instead of racing around with busy lives a simple trip to a market and then the kitchen would be so much more rewarding...and a kindness to ourselves...But for me, much of the joy is in the connections I have with people just like I so often say and do I love to "clink glasses" and "toast" so much so that I fear many on EP may feel I need an intervention LOL. It's the celebratory nature of toasting that always lifts my spirits.<br />
But I will this week cook a lovely meal just for me. :)<br />
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Thanks all!

Why should we deprive ourselves of one of the sweetest pleasures in life, because we no longer do it for others? It's like putting a plastic bag on your head, lest you might enjoy breathing on your own!<br />
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I do cook to share as well, if I didn't have anyone to cook for, I would never cook.<br />
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But I mostly cook in happy times, I will try cooking for friends when I feel sad,<br />
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thanks for sharing such a great story

I have never been a good cook....My first husband was a gourmet chef--he was also a hunter and a fisherman---a harbor master and an abalone diver---we ate like kings when he was alive. Both my daughters and my oldest son are all superb cooks...I have a neighbor--he cooks all the time and constantly brings me food---also he makes me laugh---I've grown very fond of him...My youngest son is planning to marry--the first of March. His fiance' doesn't know the first thing about cooking--so now my youngest son is also learning to cook... I have always been fortunate that the people in my life were and still are good cooks :)

Aw Paco, this really isn't connected to the story but I'm genuinely so glad to nave met you here!:)

Frito, your stories usually illicit from me warm feelings as if staring into a Norman Rockwell painting. This story is no different. <br />

Ya know...I've never done desserts before...why yes to both the banana bread and the cheesecake...but hold the wine. :)<br />
You're so right about the senses..just a whiff of certain foods can bring comfort.:)

Cooking and baking is therapeutic because it involves the senses. The sight of a carefully prepared dish or the smell of a favourite soup or stew simmering on the stove always appeases us. Is there anything that alleviates stress better than the smell of baking banana bread?<br />
Oh, I was forgetting textures-creamy cheesecake anyone?

Good thinking Juan....both get the "bad" energy out....<br />
whenever I'm upset...whether angry or hurt or whatever, an activity distracts that I think of it I do cook breakfasts at work and if I;m m=not feeling well I just get up earlier so I'll have more time to cook...the cooking distracts me and I always feel at least a little better!

Yes, celebration's creating and nurturing and I never thought of it as love but it for ourselves for those we love and care and appreciation for the food that nature provides. Well truthfully, I really don't cook that much now but I need to rethink why I don't.

Whenever I'm most angry at home, I do one of two things -- go for a walk, or start doing dishes.

Sometimes Juan we all need the's effective and comforting. And sitting together around a table, whatever the mood, is healing for me.<br />
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Ladee haha you wouldn't want my meatloaf recipe but here goes...ground meat, shredded cheese (anything I have, but preferably sharp cheddar), chopped onions, garlic, bread crumbs, salt, an egg per pound of meat , and I'm sure I'm leaving something out bit I just throw things together...then have lots of wine on hand,. I said Ladee I haven't done this in a while.And thinks for the kind too!

Same here, funny how I was teling myself how I appreciated that 'celebration' a few minutes before I read your story.<br />
Cooking is really love, love for what we are, for what we give, for what is given , not just by fellow humans but also by nature itself. <br />
Personally i couldn't sacrifice that pleasure to others, like a richer cultural/social life where I would hardly ever cook.

It does "nourish the soul" Nancy...and it lifts spirits! :)

Oh, I understand this entirely.<br />
The kitchen can be such a great distraction and provides wonderful therapy.

I can totally relate, Frito. There is something so comforting about a creating a dish, dessert or a meal. It nourishes the body but more importantly it nourishes the soul. I would be truly lost without my kitchen to escape to.