I learned this particular aspect of myself a few years ago. While travelling with an organized climbing group called Hot Rock, in South America. We all had certain daily duties to perform as well as a rotational roster for cooking duties. I won’t go into details but essentially over the course of the trip I learned that there was one particular person I absolutely resented cooking for. She was the one non – climber on the climbing trip whose sole purpose was to cause trouble and tension between everyone else. Yeah… you know the one.
Anyways, we always shared our cooking duties with one other climber so it would be less laborious for one person. Every time it was my turn to cook the mean girl would never thank me for my food and would exaggerate her gratefulness to the other cook, (on top of other mean things she would do). Thus began my realization of how much love I put into my food and how hard it was to feed someone I did not love.
I began cooking at the age of 6 and I have always loved to feed other people. Since that experience on that trip, I have interestingly enough, put more love into my food than ever before. It has become increasingly apparent to me how much I value people in my life. I have always tried my best to recognize and verbalize the great qualities I see in the people around me, but in recent years I have redoubled my efforts.
Lately, I’ve been addicted to making pies. Not the sweet pies but the savoury ones. I love savoury food and even more so savoury pies! However, these aren’t your traditional pies. It has suddenly dawned on me that I can put whatever the heck I want inside a flakey pastry. ANYTHING! Mind blown right?
Today I have made three different kinds of pies.
1. Beef Stroganoff with Wild Shaggy Mane mushrooms picked by yours truly.
2. Butten Chicken with A Twist (Cottage Cheese instead of Paneer)
3. Cream of Bacon, Beer, Aged white Cheddar and Shrimp.
I spent the morning making the pastry, using a dumpling technique I saw a the Ginger Beef Restaurant. I cut the butter, crumbed it into the flour and gently kneaded some milk into it. I made large coils of the dough and tore off little balls of dough, of which I made into flat circular pieces. I stuck those babies in the fridge while I began making the Stroganoff filling. The butter chicken was already ready from the day before.
While all these amazing things were happening, I started thinking.
I thought of you. My friends, my family. I thought about what you were doing for the holidays and I was hoping that maybe i’ll get a chance to see you. I thought about how wonderful you were and all the good things you have done and all the things you have achieved thus far in life.
I thought about how excited you would be to see me and let me put yummy things in your belly.
Time to chill the fillings. I put these out on the balcony as I prepare to wrap the first batch of pies. I thought about who would love the wild mushrooms in the Stroganoff. I also started to think about how lucky I was to have so many creative, loving, adventurous, open minded and intelligent people in my life.
I started to preheat the over to 400 degrees F. I began to wrap the butter chicken pies. I thought about who would like these and that I better make sure there’s a little piece of chicken in each one. Crap that ones leaking. Oh well someone will eat it.
I thought, crap I didn’t make any vegan or vegetarian option. I usually do. Exactly, I usually do and in those cases those people get special treatment so this time the meat and dairy people get a turn! I still feel bad.
Then I started thinking about the Veggie people in my life. I wonder what kind of pies I can make them next time. How will I make the crust? Im starting to fill the Stroganoff pies. I tried a coconut oil crust last time but it was so dry. I’ll figure it out. I miss my Veggie people. One of my best friends is a Veggie and she’s all the way down in Texas. My other Veggie friends are Kiwis and they’re so far away too. I hope they’re all having a good time doing stuff and things right now.
I realized I still had a bunch of pastry left, what else could I do? Bacon. Everyone loves bacon! Then I began to make the third filling. Bacon with mashed yam in a creamy cheesy filling. Yum. I put the other pies in the oven.
By the time I finished the third filling I was getting fatigued from all the cooking and wrapping. Instead of waiting for the filling to cool I just started spooning the hot creamy stuff into my pastry. I forgot the yams. Damn It. Ouch! Crap I’m burning my fingers! I modified my technique and finished the Bacon pies. They look a little wonky but thats okay it will make them easier to distinguish.
After a few hours, my pies are almost done. I am sitting here sharing this odd post with you all because I wanted to share a glimpse of what goes on in my mind when I’m cooking. You.
I think of you when I’m cooking. Cutting, Simmering, Boiling, sautéing and burning myself. I think of you when I put in spice or no spice. Meat or no meat. Onion or no onions. I think of you when I wash all the many dishes that come along with cooking, so that when you come visit me there’s a nice clean kitchen. And when I pack these up, I’m going to try make sure they don’t get crushed or broken, because I’m thinking of you.
This is what it means to me when I feed you. Every time I cook I think of all the people I enjoy feeding and how mush happiness we have brought into each others lives. So next time you take a bite of my food. I did it because I love you, and when I say I feed you because I love you, know that it’s true.
The secret ingredient is Love – of course – but it’s not a secret. I feed you because I love you. End of discussion.