It’s been a rough month. You can probably tell that by the lack of content in Current as of late. Part of the time, it was due to a rigorous travel and work schedule that left me begging for mercy. The other part was because I simply couldn’t find a reason to write.
I lost my grandfather last month. It’s hard for me to call him my grandfather, because he was more like a father to me. We were very close. I’ve had family members die before, but this time was different. It’s hit me in waves instead of all at once. I will get sad when I watch something awesome happen during a sporting event and realize I have no one to call. Or when I have to grill something and I don’t know how he used to do it.
Those things come up, and until the last week I haven’t really been able to deal with them. I kind of just sulk away from it. I’ve never reacted like this to something, so it was confusing. I have lost my appetite, struggled to be creative on the writing front and have been a virtual zombie while I am at home. This week I made a mental decision to kick the constant blues.
It’s OK to be sad. But in the most cliche of sentiments, my grandfather wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad. But I had the hardest time figuring out what I was missing. I could run for a few miles, watch movies, go out to dinner or for drinks even though I didn’t feel like it. Then it hit me — like I am sure it hit you all who read Current and use my recipes — that I hadn’t been cooking.
Cooking is a healing process. You take parts, small things, and put them together to make a recipe (and yourself) whole. Cooking without a recipe, which I so often do, is even better. You experiment with tastes, challenge yourself. There’s always a chance for failure, which keeps you on edge.
The “20-minutes” column was an aberration I came up with after a terribly bad break-up. I was in the kitchen every night, making things that weren’t glamorous but got rave reviews. Then it turned into a routine. Fellow Sun reporter Mallory Panuska would come over, and sit with me while I put together something resembling a meal. We would plate it and take pictures and then eat like we were at a restaurant.
The last few weeks, that has been absent from my life. Sometimes you are so worried about taking care of your family or the people around you that you forget to take care of yourself. I’ve been out of the kitchen, without that constant challenge. I haven’t had a chance to lose myself in creation.
So I cooked. And I cooked again. Then I let someone cook for me, and I watched their processes and how they differed from mine. Then I cooked again. I slow roasted, baked and grilled. I skewered, sliced and chopped.
When I started to get upset, I went into the kitchen and concentrated on something else.
I started to feel the weight lifting off of my shoulders. I started to feel less stressed and more in the moment.
Thanks to the kitchen, I am starting to feel whole again.
Call Corianne Egan, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.