I love the sound of that question. Today I’m offering you a bit of raw belief and crumbed thoughts with a touch of my personal experience.
Thanks to my new Vitamix blender, I’ve done more blending, rather than cooking over the last few months. Smoothies, shakes, even soups, you name it. And in the process I’ve realised that cooking with satisfaction is like getting what we want in life. It very much comes down to how we feel in the process. Trying to achieve a special texture and flavor from a recipe can be a source of frustration or satisfaction. Which one will it be depends on our attitude, skills, willingness to learn and choose the right ingredients, and patience.
I found that if I’m feeling well while cooking a recipe, then I’m already more than half way there. “There” being the end result. I may not be finished cooking, but the feeling of joy while doing it may not be that different from when I finally nail it. Recently, I’ve been inspired by the beautiful story of Veronica Roth, the author of the Divergent book trilogy. She kept doing what she likes (writing) even in the face of uncertainty and doubts of success.
Having the goodness and happiness we want in our lives probably asks for the right ingredients and the knowledge of putting them all together, in the right order. Oftentimes we don’t have the right ingredients. We may have no patience to persist for something better when the textures and flavors of our current diet aren’t really that bad for us. Even if we know what needs to be done, and we have all the ingredients, we still need to be ready to try many times before it just comes out the way we like it. And expect no guarantee it will turn out right the first time.
I used to resent cooking. Missing that one spice I’d never heard of would just put me off the whole thing. Why chase a few spices around supermarket aisles and spend money on the stuff when you can get an already cooked meal conveniently frozen and microwavable. Why indeed?
I like to ask myself what is it that I want. I repeat this question until I feel I’m finally being honest with myself. “I want a muesli ice cream.” “I’d prefer some pizza.” “Broccoli smoothie!” “Some sleep.” So when the choice is between a quick TV dinner or something not only wholesome but homemade that makes me proud of having cooked it on my own, I don’t have to think twice. I like to do it myself. Beyond the initial discomfort which we sometimes experience when learning something new, fun and rewards await.
I asked my mentor, Jack Canfield, in 2012 how I can get to where I want to be sooner. He said, “Cultivate patience and stay the course no matter what. Look, you don’t even have grey hair yet,” he laughed. Almost two years down the track, I still don’t have grey hair. I like to think that the grey matter underneath the hair has changed for the better. To put it in the words of my current foodie mode, one teaspoon at a time, anything is possible if you don’t give up and enjoy it as you go.
Even if we’re completely at peace with where we are, few of us would refuse a suggestion that our lives can be better. We can always achieve what we want to an even greater extent. “Why not you, and why not now?” said late Jim Rohn a while ago. If it’s peace and quiet, we can have more of it. If it’s more money, of course more is not bad. More friends? Sure.
Pulling off a food recipe and having success are not that different. But the pride we get from moving forward toward more success, peace, and joy will rarely come out of a microwave or a freezer. I truly believe that just as when we’re making a meal, to be living our lives the way we want is to be committed to never stop learning. And to lace it with rest, pause, intermission, hiatus, whatever you want to call it. Allow yourself a break, just don’t call yourself “lazy”. Overeating is like overdreaming. It can make us bloated and ill, pushing us away from the very food we like.
When did you last time follow a recipe and it turned out right the first time? It hasn’t happened for me yet. Sometimes it’s too rich, sometimes needs extra spice, or sometimes just doesn’t work out and I don’t know why. So what! Even if it tastes just the way the recipe intended it, your taste buds might reject it. If you’re not getting exactly what you want, change it, don’t give up on the recipe. And take your time. Life is much longer than we sometimes believe it to be.
We can always add more spices. So try with less and build slowly. And yes, pour it all down the toilet if it’s yuck. After all, you will know better next time.
Choose your life’s ingredients, who you’re cooking and sharing it with, experiment, and have fun. Bon appetite.