Monday, January 18, 2010

Out of control, Just like Grandma

There was one thanksgiving that my dad was so ill, we were not able to travel. Grandma Sass (his mom) came to spend thanksgiving with us that year. I made the big meal, dad was too sick to eat it, grandma was too worried to eat. She got angry at me for cooking and said-- "NO ONE WANTS TO EAT YOUR FOOD!" But I made it anyway, and everyone did eventually eat the food I made, and we were all glad there was food available even though no 'family meals' occured that thanksgiving. This was the thanksgiving we coined one of our favorite catch phrases: Out of control, just like grandma. (A phrase with meaning that crept into the vocabulary of friends, roommates, co-workers, and roommate's co-workers, all stemming back to Phyllis Sass and her so overwhelming it was comical, out-of-control concern for her sick boy. I love it, haha, I am so glad it has become a part of our language. It makes me smile. But I digress...)
On that thanksgiving, I didn't really know what to do to care for my dad, or my family. There was probably, really, nothing I could do. I was definitely not in control of the situation, so I hid out in the kitchen. I LIKE the kitchen because it's a place where I do have control. And there is stability. If you put milk, sugar, and eggs together and heat it for the right amount of time, you will always get custard. It never fails. And even if something goes wrong, and it does fail-- no one gets hurt. No one gets their feelings hurt when your pie crust is too dry, no one get hurt becuase your meat is too tough, no one drops dead because your bread didn't rise. And worst case scenario when you have a kitchen disaster, you can always order a pizza. So the kitchen is a safe, ordered place, where I have control, where no one gets hurt when I screw up, and where I can work through the issues outside of my kitchen and outside of my control.
Cooking is cathartic. Or as my mom likes to say, Valerie cooks for therapy.
The other beautiful thing about cooking is on the other side of my therapy I have created something that can bring comfort, nourishment, and love to someone else. Win-win. Seriously.
Right now... things are pretty out of control. My housing situation is about to change and I have no control. My grandma is about to die, and I have no control. My family and friends are hurting and greiving and I have no control. It's bitter-sweet right now to say it, but my life is 'Out of control, just like Grandma." So I am retreating to my kitchen until I can get a handle on things... even if, Grandma, no one wants to eat my food.

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