Cooking for one is an exercise in self love. It reveals, at least for me, how I really feel about myself. Where I fit in my own pecking order. When I cook, I fill the kitchen with love. If you cannot fill each bite with love, sheer unselfish, genuine, eat-this-and-feel-loved love, then you should not cook. When I don't have the energy to love through the meals I prepare, I simply do not cook. I'd rather not risk feeding you half-loved food, we can order pizza. I will love you a different way tonight.
So now that I am cooking for one, just for me, I realize that I do not seem to love myself the way I love John, or my interns, or even my dogs (whom I spend hours not only cooking for, but carefully gathering ingredients... they are well loved). I will spend many hours preparing and rolling tamales to feed a house of friends. I will make meals that I have no desire to eat (like Thanksgiving turkey, or turnips in butter), because they bring joy into this world.
But at the start of the day, when I wake up I have no desire to cook for me. To pour the same eat-this-carefully-grown-seasoned-roasted-kale-it-is-so-good-for-your-everything into even mixing yogurt and granola. Since John has left I've made several pots of kidney liver stew for the pups, I have managed only two salads for myself (and macaroni and cheese, that I did manage to add broccoli to).
I decided tonight, to love myself more. To put the same tenderness and care for the future that I pour into food for those I hold dearest, into myself. So I went back to a staple food. A vegetable that was the first I learned to cook. It is the vegetable that I first taught Christie Ko to cook, the first I ever made for John. It was what I ate when I learned to eat, actually eat, not just subsist.
Tonight I sauteed it with caramalized onions and crimini mushrooms, I steamed broccoli as a last minute add, but all the other vegetables are just window dressing for the courgettes. I have two zucchini plants in my garden that I am not tending to as well as the sunflowers, or the peas, or even the lettuce (almost big enough to eat). Tomorrow I will plant a third plant, and I will make a pact to nurture that bed more carefully, and myself too.