cooking isn't for wimps

i used to be under the impression that cooking was for nice, domestic, tidy ladies.  this was way before i was married, before i cooked anything more challenging than a pack of instant noodles, when i thought i just had too many other "important" things to do and before i could see outside of my own narrow and self-absorbed set of glasses (at least in this area of life).
earlier this week, i was attempting to make lemon butter cookies or sablés au citron from my beloved chocolate & zucchini cookbook.  sidenote: clotilde, i love your blog and cookbook (in the one in a millionth chance that you happen to stop by).  thank you for writing about food so cleverly and sharing your recipes with the world. 
so as i was saying,  i was zesting a lemon for this recipe and accidentally zested the skin on my poor, right-handed thumb and the middle finger on my left hand. don't ask me how i managed to do both at the same time.  ouch.  don't worry, there was nothing but lemon that made it into the batter mix after the aforementioned zesting...
but the thought occured to me that cooking is not for the faint of heart.  nor is it just for the stereotypical image i used to carry around in the back of my mind.  and who knows how i even came up with such a stereotype when i grew up with a mom who was and is an amazing cook and nothing of the stereotype.  thank goodness for all the fun and famous chefs of the day who continually pluck some of those stereotypes out of the water, however they got there in the first place.  i'm also thankful for the pastor of our church who says that his hobby is cooking and has even made hummus during one of his sunday sermons.  how's that for sunday morning church?
 i commend you, cooks of the past and cooks of the day. men and women.  those of you who fly by the seat of your pants and those of you that stick to the recipe line-by-line.  those of you that are famous and those of you who do this day after day, meal after meal, because you love the mouths you feed and the food that is fed to them.
i've only been cooking and learning to cook for 9 or 10 years.  but it's taken all of that time to realize how wonderful and difficult and amusing, cooking can be.  a few of my favorite cooking and learning experiences to date:
  • the 3 sweaty days it took for me and two of my teammates to cook a thanksgiving dinner for 30 people while living in germany 9 yrs ago.
  • that same year, same holiday, the 3 of us not only had to break the dead turkey's neck but also to pluck the remaining hairs from it before baking.  plucking a dead turkey isn't easy, is it kim and erika?
  • misreading a recipe that called for 3 dried hot peppers and putting in an entire bag of thirty, instead.  the entire kitchen was filled with a spicy, chili fog that left everyone in it coughing and choking.
  • brunch potlucks with our 2007-8 stint team of 7 people in a 15 sq ft. kitchen.  we always had bacon, didn't we?
  • having raclette with philip and navina.
  • learning hands-on how to make my mom's famous kimchi with my sister, while matt filmed us and made us feel like we were on a cooking show.  where is that video footage???
  • making fondue on 2 christmas eves, once with friends and teammates in germany, and later, right before asher was born, in the states, with good friends from germany.
  • having our friend ali over to make us an amazing turkish dinner of shepherd's salad, red lentil soup and turkish meatballs, just the way he had learned from his mom growing up.  so yummy.
  • making an incredibly decadent chocolate cake for matt's birthday, only to mess the recipe up mid-way, end up in tears and have to have matt himself help me finish making his own birthday cake.  after that, we rode our bicycles to the place of celebration for his party (with the cake nestled in a frying pan and foil and then wrapped with a bungee cord to the back of my bike) and on the way,  i managed to ride into matt and semi-wreck his bike.  the cake survived and was delicious in the end and now we have a memory we always laugh about.
  • the entire process of making turkish coffee creams with dear friends and enjoying them one tiny spoonful at time, afterwards.
  • making meals for friends who have just had a baby and the sweet opportunity it is to serve a new family and celebrate a precious gift of life.
  • all the times i've made a healthy meal that matt has liked and asher has successfully eaten.
i'm sure there are other experiences but those are the ones that come to mind for now.  i'm still learning and unashamed and happy to be doing so (even when it requires a trip to the medicine cabinet for a bandaid).  but even more so, i am thankful for the gift of cooking that God has given.  It really is a gift from him - not just food but the gift in having to prepare it and being able to do so in so many different ways.  he continually uses it in my life to not only grow and challenge me as a wife, mother, person and servant of his,  but also to bless me with new open doors (beyond food itself) that stretch across the globe and into the heart of peoples and cultures.  no more wimpy stereotypes here.  amen.