cook for a friend
Not a lot more than cooking for yourself
I want to share with you my joy and the laughter that is filling my chest and stuck in my throat, ready to burst out.
Yesterday, my friend Lorea came to my place for a slumber party.
It’s not unusual. Lorea is like an aunt to my kids (and to at least a hundred others) and we live 20-30 min from one another since we are in DC. The same distance set us apart when we were in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lorea has traveled and lived in the Middle East for far more than I can keep count of and she almost died under the bombs in her NGO’s Afghanistan quarters.
To me, just like some illnesses are genetic disorders, Lorea is a geographic one. She’s a Moroccan, disguised in an American. I’m 100% sure about it.
She loves cuddling, huge families, the community life, speaking and laughing out loud, going to the Hamman and emptying teapot after teapot for hours, in this totally Moroccan idleness, just enjoying the pleasure of being here.
The two of us usually have lots of fun together.
But yesterday was special. I don’t know what was in the air that made us so joyful. A voice inside my head can’t help but think that there was some magic in the modest pasta I cooked for her.
Can the attention and love we put in cooking something especially for someone have such results?
I would love to know what you think because my belief is: yes, they can!
When I cook from my heart, I feel a difference. When I’m focused, at some point, the smells become so intense that I have the impression of diving into the food, melting into it. At the end, I think there is a part of me and my love that stays there.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I love cooking. Or at least I loved. I liked cooking so much that I considered opening a catering company. But two years ago, I went through a hard time and I just stopped enjoying doing it.
Seeing the shallots shimmering in the pot yesterday, softening, browning, gently sweating and filling the air with their caramelized smell brought the pleasure and love back into my kitchen.
Thank you Lorea for sharing my meal and for allowing me to open the door to this long-lost friend of mine.
And thank you friends for following this page because the perspective of sharing the experience with you allows me to be mindful and present to my self-care acts.
PS: Hubby, if you’re reading this, please don’t be jealous. I’ll make you a special “Lamb Jelbana Tagine with zouitnat and hamed msiyer” (Moroccan lamb stew with green peas, Kalamata olives and preserved lemons) when you’re back. I promise.
Did you like this post? Please share it. It would mean a lot to me and help your friends take better care of themselves.
WHY IS IT SELF-CARE? When you cook for someone, you have the power to bring joy and happiness in their palate. The prospect of giving and sharing pleasure with someone is heartwarming and priceless. Totally self-care!
MORE ABOUT THIS
When I was in my twenties, being with my friends was more important than how well I entertained them, what I cooked or what plates I used.
In my thirties, my focused switched. I started preparing great meals and fantastic settings to please and show my “talents” to my guests.
Now, this is changing again: I still want to eat good food in nice settings but most of all, I want to spend quality time with my friends, show them that I love and care for them.
The purpose of a gathering is to eat something you enjoy with someone you love and have a good time together.
What you cook doesn’t have to be impressive or sophisticated. Put your heart in it and it’s going to be enough.
Also, allow yourself to have time to rest before your friend/friends come.