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Cooking and Love

You don’t know this about me, perhaps, but the Food Network is what I watch most often.

I’ve loved to cook all of my adult life. My cooking for others shows my love. Having a warm dinner that has taken time and effort to prepare shows my family I care for them. Dinner time represents a marker of the day when we turn from work to home. It’s a time to pause, relax, enjoy.

I love to create beautiful table settings and aesthetically attractive meals that make my family feel loved. Even as a young woman, living alone in my studio apartment, I always made dinner, sat at the table, and made something of my hot meal.

Cooking relaxes me. It’s comprised so much of my time as an adult and as a mum. I can’t imagine what I’d do with myself all day if not for planning meals, buying the groceries, reading cookbooks, prepping, chopping, cleaning up. Weekends for me have always been about making special food that we don’t eat during the rush of our work weeks. Work weeks include leftovers or crock pot meals which I plan for in my weekend cooking.

On my SMART TV in our new home, I can watch You Tube as I cook. Typically, I watch Barefoot Contessa. I love Ina Garten, her gorgeous home and barn, and everything she makes.

But recently, I was introduced, through the magic of You Tube, to Mary Berry, a lovely Londoner, I’m guessing in her 80’s.

Why I’m enjoying Mary is, of course, her joie de vivre (similar to why I love the French) but it’s also her blue eyes, blond hair, and deeply wrinkled face that remind me of my father and grandmother. She looks so much like my Norwegian relatives that I felt instantly connected to her. I even think there was some divine intervention in bringing her to me.

I only met my grandmother once in my life, when I was fifteen, at her lake house on Little Sebago. She was so very tiny, stooped over by then, in her 80’s (like Mary). Bergliot was quick, sharp, and her blue eyes just sparkled. But what I remember most of her was a very wrinkled face, like my father’s, but on her cheekbones, there were no wrinkles, and instead, the most beautifully, soft skin – like a fawn is all I could think of – made pink with a bit of blush. The skin stretched across her cheekbones was like velvet, soft as a rose petal.

At the lake, my grandmother took a swim among the reeds, asking me to join her, but there was no way I could have stepped into that mucky spot of the lake. Another connection to Mary, at her age, my grandmother was still active, moving, living life to its fullest.

Mary Berry might seem old-fashioned if you channel search her show for just a few minutes. It’s taken me several shows to get to know her and now I’m hooked. I find her so calming to watch; she makes me happy. I so enjoy all the scenery in England they show, the vivid greens of the countryside, just gorgeous. My favorite cooking shows are about the sets and locales as much as the recipes. The hosts need to bring me along with them and introduce me to something new and beautiful in nature.

Mary loves country drives, meeting local farmers, picnics, visiting her heritage on the lakes of Scotland, and living life. Her accent is sweet and although the Brits speak English, the words they use that are different from ours remind me of the time I spent there in college.

We each need to seek out the media like this that brings us up and make us feel happy. For me, it’s watching cooking shows….and Mary! She is a woman from another era, a different history, a different country. She loves making “suppers” that her family will enjoy.

Mary’s way of being in the world inspires me and brings me up…..compels me to do more myself, be better…and if we can all find someone to do that, best to keep watching!

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