have you ever actually stopped and thought why you do what you do, or why you love what you love?
a lot of people don’t think of me as nice. in fact, most people, if you ask them, will say they think of me as smart. or funny. or that i know a lot of people (i have a very good memory, thus i can recall pretty much everyone i ever went to school/church/worked with, and it makes it seem like i know a lot of people). very very rarely will anyone say i am nice.
because i’m not. i don’t smile, i am very much in my own head, and i have very high expectations of people. if someone annoys me, i do my best to let them know about it (nice people just let it slide). nice people are also emotive and responsive to other people’s needs or emotions. i would like to be nice, but it’s just not possible: i am from an emotionally retarded family. none of us were touchy-feely people, and kind words were few and far between. i have said “i love you” to my computer more times than i’ve ever heard it from my father. i always felt like my house was buckingham palace, like no one cared and every kept up that stoicism thing of which the british are so fond.
the only really emotional person in my family was my mom, and she kept it bottled up for most of the time until it came crashing down on all of us. i came to view emotion as weakness: the times things were okay were the times when emotions weren’t being tossed at me. girls are always so emotional, and huggy and touchy and loving with their friends. i am not at all like that so most of my friends have been men or equally emotionally/physically distant women. waffles and i never hug, if you notice.
but what does this have to do with what i love to do? i love to create things. i like making things with my hands and sitting back with that smug satisfaction of having made something unique and impossibly your own. it’s a very strange way of expressing emotions, but the result is all neatly packaged in verse or visuals, hardly the messy shower of emotions i fear. i like to package everything up on canvas or paper or on film. or on plates: above all, i love cooking. it is the only inherently nice thing that i do.
we all need food to survive, every living thing on this earth. cooking a meal for someone expresses the simplest and most basic thing: your existence? yeah, i like that. i want to prolong that. eating is a very sensual experience, all the sights and aromas and tastes. making a meal for someone acknowledges that they are alive and that you want to keep it that way (unless you’re trying to poison them, but that is a whole different story) and that you want them to use all those senses that makes us feel and know that we are alive. it’s not like you sit there at watch food or the partaking of a meal the way you can lounge in an armchair and half-watch a ball game that is of little interest to you: the sights and aromas provoke you, leaving you no choice but to be engaged.
seriously, think of your favourite food. what does it look like? what does it tastes like? how does it smell? does someone special make it a certain way that you just love, and no one else’s approximation even comes close to being as good as theirs? did you share it with someone and find that they loved it too, or that they didn’t like it at all? i can’t fucking stand it when i meet people who don’t like the food i do. as in, i will break up with you if you don’t eat what i cook you. i’ve done it before. twice.*
tonight i made golubtsi for dinner. with no one else to feed in the house, i started freaking out when i realised i just made a whole lot of food for one person and that i didn’t want to eat it alone. immediately i began an attempt to track down my russian coworker to see if he was hungry and if he wanted to eat my russian food. i couldn’t find him, and my neighbor wasn’t hungry so i packed some up in a neat little container and put it in the fridge for vadya to have at a later time.
this is why mothers are always trying to feed you: it’s because they love you. stuffing your face is always the easiest way to tell you that, because half the time you don’t listen to her or you don’t realise what she means. moms who cook all the time are the evolutionary result of children ignoring their dear mum when she is trying to smother them with her mommy kisses, and of her noticing that her sons and husband are much less likely to leave the house when they are lethargic and full of her food.
anyway, i don’t come off as very nice because i’m an emotional preschooler. if i like someone i will punch them or do something annoying like hide their stuff. but if i try to feed you, you can tell that i like you enough to try and play nice.
*it is important to note that i will make concessions and cook you some ridiculous shit that i hate, but since you love it and i have feelings for you, i will stoop to that level. sort of like the way guys shut up and go shopping with their girlfriends, or take their dumb tiny dogs out to do their business. but i’m not making you a whole meal of starches, be a man and eat some vegetables.