Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cooking therapy

Some people shop, some people drink, some people eat - I cook. As therapy.

Ok, so I do the others sometimes too, especially the eating part...but I love to cook - I can lose myself in the kitchen with 4 pots going, counters strewn with chopped food, open jars, knives, spoons and the oven pre-heating.

Its chaos. And I guess, in part, that is why its therapy for me - I lose myself in the chaos.

It consumes my mind, offering me the opportunity for intense focus; and frees my mind as I stand stirring a pot waiting for that right moment to pull it off the heat.

Such was the therapy today.

From church I went to the grocery and then home where I put away the groceries and then immeidately turned on the stovetop, put a pan on, tossed in a stick of butter (ok, a little more than a stick) and watched as the first sizzles turned into bubbles and then the slow melting of the block down into the pan.

Next came the sugar. How much sugar? I have no idea. Lots. I dumped it in with the scoop from the canister. Twice. So we've got lots of butter and lots of sugar rolling away in the pan as I whisk, whisk, whisk. And its calming. Watching the two become one - and turn a delightful brown color...its like being in a trance.

A dash of salt, a few drops of pure vanilla and we're almost there. I take the pan off the stove and contemplate the thick syrup which is beginning to harden into a semi-crunchy block. But I dont' want hard today. I need soft...comfort. So as the mixture begins to cool I go back to whisking. but now I have the milk at my side.

A little splash, a flash of boiling bubbles and foam, a lot of whisking; and then again another small splash, lots of fireworks and whisking. Over and over. There is something so calming about the repetitiveness of this task. Finally we're at a point of soft creamy caramel delight. I find an old small glass pitcher. Like that old handmixer, its been around for a long time. I pour the caramel into it and set it on the counter where the light streaming in sets the caramel sauce to glowing and casts long shadows on the counter.

I'll probably dip some tart apples into it tonight - that will be part II of the therapy. Or maybe I'll heat it and pour it over some vanilla ice cream.

Either way I'll enjoy it tucked up in a blanket on the sofa with the lights down dim and the soft glow of the colored Christmas tree lights reminding me of the holiday coming soon - which reminds me of the birth of Christ - and THATs the real therapy. The love, hope, peace of Christ.

Christmas, Jesus, Hope.

Wow, that was quite a journey! I kind of feel like "If you give a moose a muffin...." One thing just leads to the next.....

I knew this morning that I was cooking to cope - to relax, to take my mind off things, for just a little while - it was therapy. Because we're just a bit stressed here. Tomorrow is a big day, its going to be a hard day....a really really hard and sad day. No matter the outcome.

I know we'll be ok.....but today we're all coping in our own way.



  1. I am thinking of you today, Janice. Pryaing today brings you hope. :)

  2. Janice,
    I don't know what's happened, but it doesn't sound like it's anything good. I'm wishing you comfort and peace for whatever you are facing.

  3. Thank you both for your well wishes and the prayers. I appreciate you guys SO much. I hope you know that! :-)

  4. I too have no clue what happened on Monday, but I'm sorry to read that it was a sad and hard day. Would it help you to talk about it? If it won't, then I'm just sending you hugs from here...and asking Christ to hold you tenderly and tell you, "It really will be ok". And if he says that, it really will be ok.

    I hope you feel much better soon.


  5. Thanks Swati! ((hugs)) I'm all talked out at this point but I so appreciate your offer! That means a lot to me. :)

  6. Was thinking of you all the time after reading this. Just popped in to ask - how are you today? Cooked anything yummy? :-)

  7. Hope everything is okay...just popped in to say Hi and leave a hug!