A Recipe for Desire

I was always afraid of cooking – partially because I didn’t want to have to put in effort to make something to eat but mostly because I was afraid I would be very bad at it. I made it all through high school putting off my mother’s attempts to get me cooking (I think maybe besides french toast I learned how to make chicken enchiladas once…). When college came along, I had a mealplan with the school, so anytime I became hungry it was close to one meal time or another and I would head over to the cafeteria for a variety of pre-prepared foods. You’d think after college I would have started cooking… nope. I spent the summer months living with a wonderful family in North Andover, MA while working for SoulFest full-time. The family I stayed with loved cooking and always had a meal prepared for me to eat whenever we were all home and ready to eat. When the summer came to an end and my job with SoulFest was over, I moved back in to my parents’ place where my mother continued to feed me.

I “officially” left my parents’ home in September 2009 when I was hired by two separate part-time employers in Nashua, NH near some friends. However, I still was not living or cooking on my own. I lived with my best friend’s family and they were always cooking something. The shock for me came in December of 2009 when I moved to Hudson, NH – the first place I ever really paid rent. I was renting a rather large room that was my bedroom, living room and dining room all in one and I had a semi-private bathroom down the hall and through the laundry room. For the first time, I was doing my own grocery shopping and trying to figure out how to feed myself… Fresh out of college and working first two and then three part-time jobs didn’t really leave me a lot of money for groceries since all my money went to rent and school loan repayments. I had a lot of cereal and sandwiches (I’ve always been anti-ramen noodles…) and perfected the art of the pancake after many failed tries (seriously – you should have me make pancakes for you sometime – it’s like I’m a genius or something). Pancakes were a lot of cooking effort to me. When I made pancakes versus a sandwich or heating up canned soups or something, it was a big deal. I was “cooking”.

In May of 2010 I moved into my first real apartment with two wonderful friends – and I happily still reside in this apartment. I had a full-time job instead of various part-time jobs and told myself I could start learning to cook. Surprise – I didn’t. I ate lunch out at fast food restaurants constantly, usually picking something up on my lunch break and eating it at home before returning to work. I eventually developed a routine of going to McDonalds so frequently it’s almost ridiculous – I should have kept my Monopoly pieces as proof… I believe I had 8 Park Place when all was said and done and still had only won a free sandwich or two. I started making my own American Chop Suey and that became a serious meal for me – I mean, cmon, it took a lot of effort to boil the water, toss in the noodles, heat the sauce and brown the meat before combining everything! I was lazy when it came to my meals and couldn’t understand why or how people loved cooking so much, let alone those who do it for a living (whether we’re talking about a chef or a mom!).

Fast-forward through months of eating Domino’s pasta bread bowls and memorizing the fast food menus, alternating the places I ate to avoid boredom to about 2-ish months ago. I discovered the McRib for the first time and had huge memories flood back to me about eating Ribique sandwiches in elementary school and how amazing that was. I started eating McRibs every other meal, pretty much… Within two and a half weeks I had gotten food poisoning three times, I believe… My head hurt more than it’s ever hurt in my life, my eyes felt like they were being pushed out of my head and my stomach felt like it was a tornado trying to break out of my body. That’s when I laid my foot down and told myself “Hilary. Get cooking for your own sake! You can do this!”

I started with something simple – my mom’s recipe for beef stew in the crock pot. And wouldn’t you know I found that I enjoyed it? Preparing things, smelling the food when I came home, eating what I had made when it was ready… I started planning out my meals and am working on perfecting the art of grocery shopping. I rarely eat out – maybe a couple times around the holidays when I had run out of groceries and wasn’t buying any until I returned from my parents’ or when we had a lunch meeting at work that I forgot about… I’ve been cooking all types of foods and have loved every minute of it.

And you know what happened? My desire increased. Not my desire for cooking or my desire for food, no! My desire in general! I found that I was desiring to learn more, to read more, to study more, to clean more, to talk more, to love more… I was happier, more energetic, more peaceful… When I returned from my Christmas vacation and had gotten over my bout with a cold, my boyfriend said to me on the phone “have you gone grocery shopping yet? You seem so much better when you’re cooking…” And I know he didn’t mean that as an insult. I do feel better when I’ve been cooking. When I’ve been using my time wisely in one area I find that it has a habit of spilling itself over into another area.

Wouldn’t you know it’s had an effect on my spiritual life? I sing worship songs in my head all day long and while cooking. I talk to God more in my spare time. I talk about things I’m struggling with and things I’ve been thinking about with how and who God is more freely. My desire for intimacy with God and His creation have increased. Crazy, right? It’s wonderful!

Do you know why my desire has increased? I can tell you one reason, since I know there are probably many. I faced my fears. I said “to heck with you, you thoughts of failure and laziness. I’m going to give a go at conquering you and if the battle comes out a failure, I’ll keep going until I win the war… I mean, I’ve gotta eat!” You want to know how to cultivate desire for ______ in your life? Face your fears! Are you searching for a way to deepen your relationship with others, with God? Face your fears of looking foolish, of failing, of not being enough, of not knowing what to do, of doing things wrong, of being boring, of being bland… You were created in the image of God! You can do all things through Christ! Give this a try some time with some fear in your life and then come back to me and tell me you haven’t seen a cultivation of desire spring up from somewhere in your life. : )

What all have I been cooking? Well, here’s just a few pictures of the things I have made – so far they have all been absolutely delicious and tonight’s menu will consist of honey-mustard baked ham!!

Turkey & Provolone Garlic Melt

Orange Teriyaki Beef & Noodles

Sausage & Apple Saurkraut

Chicken Caesar Pasta (my own recipe!)

The beef stew that started it all

Roasted Red Pepper Tortellini

Chive & Ham Brunch Bake

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2 Comments to “A Recipe for Desire”

  1. Ok the orange teriyaki looks really good. I want the recipe.

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