Updated: Apr 17, 2020
So I've been listening to a podcast this morning called Hallie Weekly, which I'd recommend. She had a speaker on there (Cate from catecan'tcook.com) who was talking about discovering the things you really are interested in doing and abandoning the things you're not. The episode's called Self Discovery. I was feeling particularly bored and fed up (my Saturday curse) this morning, so it was a good one to listen to.
It got me thinking about food, my daily Everest, my unclimbeable mountain. I've always wanted to be the kind of person who loves making food. I've got friends who love to cook and bake and I've often felt envious. In my teaching days I'd get home and have no idea when or what I was eating that evening. I never shopped and I often had a nigh-empty fridge. I thought that if my pace of life changed and I was at home, this would all change too. I would become someone who made jam and bread and lived near my own personal allotment.
The reality is that organising the purchasing and preparing of food is my daily Everest, indeed usually my nemesis. Whilst I love the idea of creating a homely home, with all the delicious smells of homemade baking and sauces made from scratch, the reality is that I like eating, not cooking. And I like eating out.
Now, eating out is barred to me both financially and for the fact that it's no fun at all with two small children. Throw Michael being financially responsible into the mix and you have a scenario where I'm eating alone, with Michael sipping his drink and going all foodless, with two children who are difficult to contain.
So I don't want to let go of the dream of getting into and really enjoying (nay, becoming an expert?) at cooking. I think there's something in learning to love a task that you have to do on a daily basis. And I do love the idea of giving really deliciously-cooked food as a gift to the people I love, cheesy as that sounds . I've always seen myself as a bit of a homemaker (whilst not enjoying many of the elements that go with it). Also, it would give me a really cheap hobby. Gosh, there'd always be something to do. When I made pancakes and brownies with Grace this week, it gave us an activity for the afternoon - one that didn't involve play doh or Isaac and Grace fighting over stickers or puzzles ('Mummy, baby Isaac is ruining it. He's ruining my game!).
However, the baking was not the Mary Berry scene it should have been. I found myself going from feeling happy that Grace was happy to be stirring the pancake mix with a fork to horrified at what she was doing with the fork,and shouting 'What are you doing, Grace?? The mix is going everywhere... ' I'm not a fun person to bake with yet. Far too controlling in the kitchen. So I either have to change my personality or limit Grace's activities in the baking department. No stirring.
So anyway, back to my first point. The podcast today was all about trying to discover the person God always meant you to be. And that involves saying 'no' to a lot of things that other people might envisage you doing, or that you feel pressured to do, or that you see other people doing. She mentioned the quote from St Catherine of Siena: 'Be the person who you were always created to be and you will set the world on fire.' It's quite a famous quote. An inspiring thought.
So it leaves me wondering... how to reach for something beyond mediocrity? Where are those things that give energy? Definitely not cleaning. And certainly not cleaning a high chair with little bits of tiny Weetabix stuck on it, or those tiny bits of broccoli that get cemented on. Not really organising either. Phone calls and e-mails usually a definite no, unless they involve personal correspondence.
I worry that I've spent a lot of my life just settling for a kind of mediocrity, by pushing myself to do the things I thought I should be doing and not really the things I love doing. Maybe I've been in the wrong profession or just not allowing myself to do enough of the things I love. So it's good to have 'permission' from a podcast to focus on the things I'm actually interested in. Or asking God, which path He has planned for me that takes me past mediocrity..
So I'll keep trying to do more of the cooking and the enjoying of food-stuff. But maybe I also realise that it's not a 'blue flame' of mine, even if it does involve gas.
Eating out, on the other hand...