This evening I cooked again in a long time... I cannot really remember when was the last time I cooked before we moved across the country. All I remember was a lot of optimism and over-estimation of my capabilities, and then, faced with a fridge and pantry full of food, asking myself in exasperation: What in the world was I thinking?!
I did not even have time to heat up the oven to throw in a frozen pizza. It was that insane. Actually, it is still pretty insane and at times I am beginning to suspect I am supposed to be insane and life must be crazy all the time or it must not be life.
So tonight I cooked up some salmon, some broccoli and served it with rice sprinkled with furikake. Everyone licked their plates and V kept batting her eyelids, moaning and saying, "Mmmmmm, food. Ooooooh, foooood. oh, salmon, Oh, furikake! Mom, this is food!!"
Which is a bit funny. We have been eating all these last crazy weeks. Sometimes better than others. We've had big burritos, pizza (cannot look at another one till next year), Pan.da Express, similar versions of Pan.da Express, delicious home-cooked meals from friends; we've eaten in better restaurants and we've grabbed whatever's on the run.
But truly, nothing compares to home-cooked. Even if just simple food. It just sits in your belly better, and it feels good to finally sit down at our own dining table (surrounded by opened boxes and relying on one standing lamp that is moved wherever it is needed) and just eat at leisure. No need to worry about the glasses of water being knocked over or poured down your lap (as L has done a few times), and no need to wave aside concerns about what went into that incredibly good ranch dressing. I know I used but butter, good olive oil from that Italian bakery, wild-caught salmon (on sale for crazy $4.99/lb at the local grocery store, I plan to go back and clear out their stock tomorrow), broccoli, and rice that I bought in Lee Lee's a month ago. I used sea salt, some seasoning I made up months ago, and not very much more. Tonight Lyra was not making a "piano" with packs of Splenda and Sweet-N-Low, and she was not stacking up tiny containers of ultra-pasteurized half-and-half and pretending to blow them out like candles (yes, we have eaten out so often the last two weeks she has found ways to entertain herself while waiting for food to arrive, in-between pouring water onto the floor).
It feels like in spite of the million things we still need to deal with, and despite the months before we will feel settled in, everything will be ok. Because finally, I am able to cook again. I will be grumbling about the cabinets and the sink that faces the corner of the walls and a ton of other things, and I will complain about having to clean and wash up after meals. but thank goodness, I can cook again. I thought I would forget how to cook after these weeks, but I think still remember.
Thank goodness, because nothing beats home-made.