It’s been funny to realize and settle with my own kitchen reality: I am often unimpressed by my cooking. And it’s fine! In the aftermath of the Royal Wedding, I read a few articles, but one of my more recent reads was written by Megan Markle in 2015 for Elle. In it, she writes about being biracial, but in the most simple brain bump, I kept coming back to this part, “… a pretty good cook…”
What defines a good cook?
Am I good cook?
My dad was a good cook. He leaned on his Panamanian roots, with sauce and rice with mostly everything. My mom is a good cook too, who spent her Sundays in the kitchen. At the turn of each year, she made a big pot of black-eyed-peas that was said to bring a wealth of good luck for the new year. I can’t forget to mention her delicious baked mac + cheese and chicken, too.
I don’t think I could ever describe myself as a bad cook. A “decent cook” may be more fitting. I cook what we know and love. I am intimidated by too many steps and ingredients and usually will opt for anything oriented around the oven.
And as I boil the pasta and season the noodles, chop the peppers, and toss the butter over the shrimp, I wonder about the way that we come to define a good cook. We eat pasta with almost anything, and I think that’s what my kids may remember most about my cooking? And then there’s the fact that I make it colorful, and we play music with dinner, and I always trick them with just “one last bite” until nothing remains.
Whether it is my perfectly (and often heavily) seasoned pasta or the events that surround dinner that make me a good cook, lately, it feels like it may just be the heart of cooking. Like the dance of creating a meal, messy and simple, with love.