Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cooking With My Heart

There was a time when my food sucked. I couldn't boil water without burning the tea kettle. Toast was incinerated! My family actually asked me to NOT cook dinner and just let my mom broil the frozen steak in the oven with a slathering of A1 over it.

I had just ended my 6 year live-in couplehood with Joel and was forced to move back home. I was heartbroken. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I could barely bring myself to cook, but I still had baking orders that needed to be filled and a few catering gigs that I had committed to.

Later on when my little thumper was all stitched back up and I was smiling more, I got my groove back. I could turn freezer-burned ground beef into the juiciest, tastiest five-cheese stuffed burger this side of the Old Homestead. People would wrap up whatever THEY already made for dinner if they got a last minute invite to come over and eat whatever it was I just prepared. Life was good again.

After a new relationship and a slew of breakups, my mom finally took me aside and laid it out for me.

"No offense." This means to prepare myself. She's about to be very blunt and say something hurtful with the intention of being helpful. "You can't cook when you're not in a good mood. You know I love your food, but when you force yourself to bake or cook when you're hurt- it's just not good. So, don't cook when you're sad. We can taste it in your food."

Ouch, Mom! 

Ok, so it wasn't that bad. She was right. When I'm all torn up inside, the last thing I want to do is cook. Decorating? Forget it! I always say food is love. To my most closest loved ones, I say: "Food is love, and if I could, I would feed you forever!" I adore that quote because it comes from my heart of hearts and it sums me up as a person perfectly.

I express my adoration for people with what I make for them. Yes, I am paid to make pretty cakes and burn up some grub for people who can afford my services. However, the BEST meals I've ever made have always been for free for someone I love. I take my time buying the best ingredients, prepping everything precisely, and cooking each element to perfection just so every bite is filled with as much love and emotion as I can fit in there. (Imagine an overstuffed ravioli.)

I don't even cook for someone I'm dating until I'm absolutely sure that I'm digging them on levels that go beyond superficial coupling. I just find the first meal I ever cook for someone to be extremely important, special, intimate, and something I want them to remember forever. It almost trumps the first time we lay down together as a couple! Imagine that...But we chefs do think on different wavelengths than the rest of the world.

There's this fantastic movie in Spanish called "Like Water for Chocolate". It's got Martyrdom elements and a little over the top with drama so of course I would love it, but isn't that what's fantastic about Latin cultures; the drama? It's about this woman who was born into the unfortunate position of being the youngest daughter, which dictates that she never marry and most stay at home and take care of her mother till she dies. Her love ends up marrying her older sister just to stay close to her. She is a fantastic cook and all her emotions are expressed in the love or hurt or pain she puts into her food. For example, she was forced to make the wedding cake her for her sister's wedding to her love. She cried while she did it, and everyone who ate at the wedding got the shits. hehehe...Really, my description does not do this movie justice. Just watch it. And, yes, it's a chick flick! So deal with it!

A friend of mine was fixing my Droid recently because I tried to root it in order to install an App that Verizon's OS wasn't letting me install properly. I ended up screwing up the entire OS, and I had no clue how to fix it. My friend, being a Linux genius, took it under his wing and started going at it. He was hacking away at the mess I made without even breaking a sweat.

I murmured something like, "I wish I knew how to break the code of this techie language you Code Monkey's speak. I'm so clueless when it comes to this stuff. I feel like I'm outside of the clubhouse because I don't know the password to get in."

He stopped what he was doing to look up at me. (He almost never does that. Usually when he's got his nose dug into some technical thing he's tinkering with, he talks to me absentmindedly, answering my questions, but keeping his focus on whatever it is that he's working on. It used to drive me mad because it felt like he wasn't paying any attention to our conversation, but he was. He can partition his attention like some people partition their computers to run more than one operating system. Damn, techies are sexy!) Shoot, tangent...and I forgot to yell out "Squirrel!" 

So, as I was saying, he looked up at me and said, "Are you kidding me? You take flour and sugar and fruit and chocolate and you do this thing with your hands and you give it to people and they smile. Have you EVER handed someone one of your cake boxes and NOT gotten a smile out of them? You make people happy. Not just ANYONE can do that. Do you know how powerful a gift like that is?"

Well, hell...I guess I never really looked at it that way.

I cook with my heart. You can taste how much I love you through my food. Money comes and goes. I do not measure the success of my craft by the size of my bank account. I measure it by the smiles on your faces.

Love, Katherine =)

Boss Update: I got to work 20 minutes late AGAIN this morning. My boss still hasn't had that meeting with me. I have no clue if I'm going to get chewed out, written up, or just told to pack up and go. I don't know. Someone said getting canned may be the best thing for me since my day job holds me back from going full force with Queenie Cakes. Of course, this person just lost his job, and I think his opinion may be a little biased. =P Seriously, he has a point, and I know I won't learn to swim of I don't let go of the edge of the pool. Unfortunately, the edge of the pool is keeping me from drowning in debt, so I really CAN'T let go of the edge until my 7 grand of debt mysteriously disappears. As of right now, I still have a day job. There's still tomorrow, though...


  1. I really like the sentence, "You can taste how much I love you through my food." it's just a really passionate statement I have to read over and over again. May you never have to bake for your enemies lest they explode from your cooking rage. :D

    Yes, it's so much more useful to know how to make people smile than know how to take apart phones. There will always be a newer android but cakes are forever!

  2. I'm just passionate about food because it's what I know. Oh, man..Cooking Rage! Is that like road rage?

    I think everyone has that one ability that will make people smile. I smiled like a kid in a candy shop when he fixed my phone. And I smiled when I read your blog. So, we're all capable of making people smile. The challenge is in trying to make it happen as often as possible. =)