Coping Mechanism #4

Although I have no idea what that dish in the photo is, I hope it provided great click bait for those who haven’t already been reading my blog. These series of posts describe my relationship to an activity or possession that I use to help cope with my bipolar disorder. The reason I post my personal coping mechanisms is that I have learned that over the years, without a life purpose, goal, or activity to do for fun, I engage in super risky and unhealthy behaviors. By creating new goals and finding my passion in life, I have created a healthy outlet for my energy and emotions.

This time we will discuss how my love of cooking has evolved over the years and how I found peace with a task that everyone has to do to sustain themselves.

As a child, my mother encouraged us girls to learn how to cook from an early age. As a 6 year old, I aways insisted on making “soup” and by “soup”, I would throw raw vegetables into a pot of salted water and my mom would put the pot on the stove and pretend to cook it. I would always ask her to eat the soup and she only would if I did first, so the soup would get thrown away.

After that, I never really cooked unless it was out of pure necessity. I always came home to a hot meal on the table after I was done with school which I totally didn’t appreciate like I should have before I moved out. Once I did finally moved out, I began to realize how expensive eating out truly is and started to cook at home.

I started out with basics like chicken thighs baked in the oven and baked potatoes with salad. Then one day i try making a white broth soup that required a rue. I remember my whole kitchen was covered with flour and I was sobbing because my rue burnt in the pan no matter how many times i tried and I spent $50 on soup stuff for nothing. I made my boyfriend at the time clean up my mess and let that deter me from cooking soup for the longest time.

I knew I had to keep cooking at home because the boyfriend wasn’t going to do it, so I kept persevering. I started out with pasta dishes like spaghetti and alfredo. Once I mastered that along with baking meat and potatoes in the oven, I moved on to frying meat and skillets in the fry pan. I would fry up steak and pork chops and lamb chops to go with some au gratin or, you guessed it, baked potatoes. If I was feeling extra zesty, sometimes I would make mashed potatoes and/or mac and cheese.

As I mastered various dishes on the stovetop and in the oven, I then mastered the crockpot. I made beef stew, which unlike a lot of soups, did not require me to make a rue. I made pulled pork and one of my ex’s favorites, pork carnitas. I actually earned the Mexican mother stamp of approval from Diego’s mom with my crockpot pork carnitas. (My secret is orange juice).

Once I moved back home, my mom stopped cooking altogether and my father only cooked his rotation of three meals on the weekends. He only cooks ground beef tacos, spaghetti, and grills. That being said, I had to increase my cooking abilities and my palate.

I recently started making soup. None that require a rue, as I am very rue-tainted from my intial experience. But I can make a mean zuppa toscana, better than Olive Garden can.

With all of that being said, I am continually increasing the amount I cook and the type of food I cook. I have found cooking to be a great outlet for me to eat my feelings which is a vice of mine, but to do so in a more healthy way. I decompress as I spend that hour making dinner for everyone and by the time plates are dished up, I no longer have the desire to eat my feelings. It makes me happy caring for others and providing food for my family and friends because it gives me purpose. Plus, I genuinely enjoy eating and cooking allows me to eat whatever I want, when I want it.

If anyone wants any of the recipes to the food I’ve listed in this post, leave a comment and I’ll respond ASAP.

Til next time,

Dani

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