I don’t understand when people say they don’t like to make their own food, or when they survive on store-bought sweets, pre-sliced pieces of plastic cheese, chips and bottles of coke. There is more to life, people, trust me.
Life can be pretty rotten sometimes, I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes, I don’t believe I could ever be more exhausted, sometimes I curse and scream and pull my hair and just want all my problems to disappear. Sometimes I cheat and have popcorn for dinner, just popcorn. I buy the occasional frozen pizza, and during exam week I absolutely have survived on eating 2 meals a day consisting of porridge and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
But I mean, seriously. A great meal doesn’t have to be much or cost much or require any heavy lifting. Yeah, you need to know how to find the best bang for your buck, but it can be done. I see survivors every day. And I’m thankful I can say I’m now thriving — because, I’ve been there, in survival mode.
I was thinking about this, how a good meal can take seconds. I remember when we were little, my brother and sister and I, we were homeschooled for a number of years, and were lucky enough to have an amazing Mom and Dad to spend time with learning actual life-skills out in the real world. We got to explore and learn and be outside jumping in puddles, running through mud with the dog and staring wide-eyed at the majestic and towering trees of the coastal rainforest we call home, while everyone else was stuck behind a desk.
We would go up to Gospel Rock with Dad and Kita — I want to say all the time, but I didn’t keep track back then, so I’ll just say once a week at a minimum. It was a fantastic, mysterious place with stunning views, large gatherings of arbutus and hours of trails to explore. We would go with our pocket knives and whistles, tree book, bird book, dressed for the season and ready for adventure. Fall was my favourite, with all the leaves turning colour, the smell of damp earth and the rain. We would often pack snacks, hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper, and tomato wedges with, you guessed it, salt and pepper — it was indescribably good.
And we would come home, and learn some more, play some fiddle. Mom would make dinner, we would do the dishes and race upstairs to change into our pajamas, and dive onto the bed in Mom and Dad’s room, with our pillows and blankets and various favourite stuffed chums. And Dad would read to us. The Redwall series by Ian Jacques, full of courageous badger warlords, treacherous weasels, and peace-loving moles, a whole forest, a whole world of vibrant characters that Dad brought to life with his voice. We never wanted to go to bed; I could have listened forever. And the food, my God! The inhabitants of Mossflower Woods had it good. We went to bed hungry every night, not because we didn’t have enough on our own table, but because the descriptions in these books are larger than life, and good enough to start you hallucinating deeper’n ever pies, outside inside cobbler riddles, fresh fruit with cream, and hot scones with jam or honey, hearty soups and quenching cordials… Stomachs did growl, menacingly and drool did pool, let me tell you.
So, have some fun! Buy a decent cookbook for inspiration. Turn up the tunes and sing over the stove, don’t slave. Buy some fresh, seasonal veggies. Treat yourself to that perfectly ripe avocado, buy a baguette and lather with butter. Ask your neighbour to dinner.
Live life! We are all food motivated, people. Anyone who says differently is an idiot.