Cooking was never really my strong point. In fact up until just a few years ago, I didn’t really know how to cook well. I could, however, put together a fine pot of white rice – this I learned from my early 20’s. But cooking, no I didn’t really know how to.
It started from a former in-law of mine several years ago. They taught me how to stew chicken and make Ackee (ah-kee) and Saltfish and other similar kinds of dishes that required lots of oil. But truly my cooking, my cooking, didn’t ignite until I bought my first place. Then, I was so excited to smell the aroma of fresh stove-top food! But as time went by I stopped making what I had learnt: the usual stewed chicken or ackee doused with oil, and slowly that excitement for cooking dimmed and flickered out.
In the last few months, however, I’ve noticed that my meals have been new dishes that I’ve never tried before. It would start with this quiet burning desire of an idea to make something new, to just try and see what the outcome is. Tonight is a good example of that: I made Chicken soup.
For some reason the effort in preparing soup was what I shied away from. Well tonight as I drove home from work I began to mentally picture the ingredients in my fridge that I was going to use, and how I was going to prepare them for the soup – I felt confident. I knew the soup wouldn’t waste as I already reassured myself it would be lunch for this week.
I was excited.
I prepared the soup parts just as I imagined it would be – chopping the carrots diagonally, dicing onion, green and red peppers, cutting the potatoes in perfect squares and cooking the chicken chunks in the frying pan. I was ready. Like a symphony, everything started perfectly. Everything was going according to plan and nothing was wayward. It didn’t matter if it was anyway, because I was in the frame of mind to just “try a thing and see where it goes”.
When I finally added the last ingredient, pumpkin, I just felt proud of myself. I know it’s “just soup!” but to me it’s more than that. I proved to myself that things aren’t as difficult as I think they are, that effort goes a long way. It also showed me that I need to challenge myself to get out of my own comfort zone. To live.
A fitting title of this experience as it truly was: Chicken Soup For The Soul.