Family · Running · Women

Barefoot in the Kitchen

The rapidly-approaching holidays, not to mention all the running, training and racing that so many people have recently taken part in, tend to bring everyone’s attention to a subject very dear to my heart: FOOD.

I love to cook. My favorite quote from “The Wind in the Willows” goes something like, “There is no greater joy in life than simply messing about on a boat.” Well, I would slightly modify that to: “There is no greater joy in life than simply messing about in a kitchen.”

Now don’t go getting your running shoe laces in a twist; I get plenty of joy from running. But that’s the thing: I get joy from running. No one around me really benefits from my scampering around on pavement or trails. True, as with most other runners, I’m a more pleasant person to know when I can run regularly, but tangible benefits? Nope. You can’t slide a PR off a baking sheet and give it to someone who’s having a bad day.

With food it’s different. Food I can share with people as nourishment, or at least a treat. Unlike anything I try to share that’s running-related, food doesn’t require anyone to get up early and brave the elements on a weekend morning.

Whenever I feel like it, I shuffle around my little kitchen, barefoot or sock-clad depending on whether the oven is cranked up, turn on my radio (I firmly believe in kitchen radios) and just…make stuff. Sometimes I lean on recipes, but you know those moments when you try to satisfy multiple simultaneous cravings? They happen a LOT in my kitchen. Even more often, I’m frankly just trying to turn the random ingredients on hand into something resembling an actual meal. I chop, I mix…

And cross my fingers.

Lots of single people don’t like to cook because it’s “just them.” I don’t mind cooking for just me. I’ll eat almost anything, even a not-so-successful experiment, and I’m A-OK with scarfing leftovers, which I almost always have. Let’s just say I tend to use liberal quantities of everything. Such is the peril of cooking right after a run, when my stomach says “Yes. The whole box of pasta. Do it.”

But I do get the occasional dinner guest(s), which makes me absurdly happy – assuming that my messing about has resulted in something edible. If not, a little sleight of hand and, oooh, look over here! Dessert! Which brings me to my next point: BAKING.

My cast-iron skillet and two pie pans are among my most prized possessions. The skillet I found at a flea market for $10; the pie pans I got from my mom after years of loving use (the woman’s pie crusts are perfection). These kitchen toys have borne some of my favorite creations: skillet cornbread, skillet pizza, and a multitude of sweet and savory pies. Some delicious; some hastily determined For My Stomach Only. After a requisite “quality check” (don’t say you don’t do it!), if the item passes, I cut a slice, or wrap in foil, and – the best part – share! I give food to friends, family, and co-workers as something they can touch, taste, smell, and [hopefully] enjoy.

My food says, “You may not always see me at my best or happiest, but here is what happens when I am, and I want you to have it.”



10 thoughts on “Barefoot in the Kitchen

  1. I share in your “interest” to create tasty. But alas, I am not as talented with food and must rely on detailed instructions. Just had my son’s friend request to spend the weekend with us – why? Partially to play on-line gaming and partially because I cook interesting dinners. What? Finally, someone who appreciates my effort!

  2. Cooking is awesome! I hope you have a subscription to Runner’s World and try out their recipes. They look super tasty (with a side order of good for you.) I love cooking too, though my wife is the baker among us. I tend to do the dinner and she finishes up with desert. And usually that is enough to keep me heading out, even into the wind and cold that are settling down over the hills here in PA. Great post!

  3. As someone who has tasted your BAKING…. all I can say is ESPN and the Food Network should consider doing a joint venture featuring You!

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