“I’m a good cook,” she types on the blank screen before her. The wheels of uncertainty start to turn in her head. “Is it conceited to write that about *MYSELF* on *MY* own blog?” she wonders to herself. It had been a year since she’d found her way back into the kitchen. The familiar movements with which she whipped up everything from eggs to 3-layer biryani were rusty. Her confidence wasn’t any better. But she had to write this promising essay to convince herself that all these years of painstakingly making recipes, photographing them and then typing them on a computer weren’t all an illusion.
“Sigh,” she sighed.
Last year was not a good year for her creative work. She spent a lot of time in existential surgery. Reeling from the death of her father of 30 years, Edlyn wasn’t sure if anything made sense anymore. “If I say this in a post, will people think I’m milking this grief thing?” she asked the other Edlyn in her head. “Yes, everybody dies. You’re not special. Move on,” other Edlyn said. “Okay.” Backspace, backspace, backspace.
It was true nonetheless. In her father, she saw unlimited inspiration. He was a marvel in the kitchen. He rarely had time to teach Edlyn (or any of the other sisters) recipes but she always dreamt of making it happen somehow. That way, she could surely be an even better cook. Edlyn did not cook like her father. Firmly in the clean-as-you-go camp, she recently realised more of her cooking was inspired by her mother. She got her crankiness from her dad instead.
His death was something she needed to sit with. “It’s not an excuse!” she cried. He was taken from the family very suddenly. The gloom descended without so much as a doctor’s visit. His death was there laying in front of her. She had no other way out other than accepting it.
Imagine tastebuds altering, lying on the bed with her mind buzzing, new food intolerances appearing out of nowhere, feet swelling, making trips to the doctor with this feeling that something was seriously wrong with her. “I’m so sorry I keep coming here. I feel like I’m losing my mind,” she told one of the 4 physicians she had seen. Edlyn could not peek into their computers but she imagined they were typing “hypochondriac” as she spoke of her toes turning black or that lump in her breast that appeared and stayed. She refused to put her family through another layer of grief on year one. “That’s why I keep coming here,” she cleared it up with the doctor just in case they thought she liked this attention.
They never diagnosed the swollen toes, the no sleep problem turned into a too much sleep problem and the lumps in the breast were fibroadenomas for which there is no treatment except follow up ultrasounds/mammograms when prompted by the hospital. She lived happily ever after with bat signal in the form of a mild burning sensation on the lump during ovulation. FUN.
She needed to remind herself that she could still do this thing. Last year some of Edlyn’s famous homecooking came with pre-seasoning packets and concept clean-as-you-go was more like pile dishes high into one side of the sink and then move it to the other side when she wanted to fill the water filter. Considering these circumstances, why would she ever want to photograph a food blog post again? For fun?! People were terrible and her father was dead.
It had been a year though so she wanted to try. If not in the same way, then at least in a way that would honour her father’s memory and the way in which it painted how she conducted herself in the kitchen. Also, her ma LOVED her blog from the very beginning. She missed that connection they both shared. It had been hard to write about her feelings. She was worried she would hurt her family further by bringing up her dad. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Baby steps,” she typed, “I am a good cook, but I need to remember why.” She was a product of two people who made eating a pleasure and writing and showing them they were an inspiration was a reason why this felt right. It can feel that way again, she thought.