Cooking isn’t just about food for me: it’s my therapy. I started cooking four years ago, when the appeal of making food from a can started to fade, and my inner cook began to itch. I started out slow, making simple dishes my mother used to make when I was growing up. But as time went by, I longed for the thrill of making something unknown and the satisfaction that comes from making a delicious and wholesome meal.
I am fascinated by the stories behind each recipe, the hands it passed through to get to each and every table. While some of my recipes come from various books I have collected over the years, my favourites come from the people I love. Cooking the recipes of my family and friends brings me closer to them and allows me to experience that connection that only comes with making their food.
I lost my grandmother six years ago. I was seventeen and completely engulfed in my own world, so her death blindsided me. I had only ever known her as a child, when the monthly visits to her hot, cluttered house were just a distraction from the beach. I had only started to really get to know her as a person, and not just my grandmother, in the years leading up to her death.
She was a beautiful woman and she loved to cook. Cooking was her way of expression. Food became her way of communicating with her husband, her children, her friends, and later, her grandchildren. She spent hours in her cramped kitchen, cooking turkeys and baking cookies for my family’s arrival, working all day to prepare for a visit that only lasted a few hours. After she died, I spent three years in and out of counselling to come to terms with her death. I could never accept it; I could never fill the void that was my grandmother.
When I bake, she is there, guiding me through every stir of a spoon and every dab of icing. Cooking allows me to remember my grandmother when she was alive, shuffling around her kitchen, her slippers scratching the tiles. Cooking brings her closer to me; it is something we share, something she taught me without even knowing it.
Every week I will bring you a new recipe to add to your own collection. With every recipe comes a story: a story of my journey to make the dish, but also the story behind how I came to have this recipe, and the people it comes from.
If you have any questions, comments or would like to share a recipe of your own, please contact me at Gilean@stuckinthyme.com.
- Gilean Watts