I’m learning. Learning things I didn’t think I would need to know, experience or even think about these past number of months. The biggest things that I have learned is the Joy of Controlled Chaos.
Joy has been found in the most unsuspecting place I would have ever expected it to inhabit my life. I have discovered an almost ancient joy that I once experienced years ago. It was like having a smell, a sound, a word, a song or even a taste that takes you back to that place you had forgotten up until that very moment. When I was doing my post-secondary and post-graduate work I was able to go to Brazil on three occasions with other friends. Each experience was so impacting upon me that even to this day when I smell diesel exhaust my mind takes me back to those memories and experiences in Brazil.
That’s what this Joy experience has been for me. Not longing for things of days gone by but of the Joy of those times and how I enjoyed what I was doing. It’s not exciting or anything profound. I have been simply reminded about my Joy of cooking. Now the Smyth’s, past and present, have never been ones to stand over a stove, a BBQ or even a campfire with something we have thrown together. There is a time and place for that, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
When I was growing up my mother allowed me to experiment in the kitchen all the time. Food combinations, sauces, messes, mistakes, and to be honest there were more failures then successes. I loved meal prep and seeing it through to the finish for family and friends. I even tried my hand at cooking professionally when I worked for a restaurant in my hometown called Belamy’s. I started as a salad boy, then a deep fryer, then flat-top grill and I had a blast with friends I worked with and then I retired. Went to university was more like it, I had better thing to do. Since then, it’s become a lost art in my life. Until this year.
My Joy has been in putting meal plan together for a week or more. Meals that I knew we would enjoy just as a family, with friends and even surprise guests. Then thinking and praying for every person that would be sitting around our table, our conversation, their families and all that surrounds them I then take that meal plan and put it into a grocery list and the process deepens. I have come to love the process of grocery shopping. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know why. All I know is that I have fun thinking about each ingredient that I’m picking up and what meal it will be used for, who is going to be sitting around our table enjoying not only a lovely meal but also journeying with us on this crazy health road that we currently find ourselves traveling. Once I get all my groceries in their eco-friendly bags and getting them safely home and put away, I love putting the meal together from scratch. Yes, of course I have help from cooking books and doing a little adding of my own to the recipe to fit our peanut and nut free home (which really bums me out as I love both peanut butter and peanuts). I will share with you at a later date the various books that I have found particularly helpful in meal planning and preparation.
My Joy has become once again, cooking amidst the Controlled Chaos of our family life. Controlled in the fact that I can put a meal plan together and have the groceries in the house and preparing to be put together in a masterful display of culinary vision that Chef Ramsey himself would stand in sheer and utter awe, then chaos hits. Heather has a high temperature and needs to go to the ER. Nathan has fallen and is balling his eyes out and I must leave my culinary vision to wipe tears and kiss boo-boo’s or the worl will end if I don’t watch him jump off of his play structure into his pretend pond and then rescue him because the water is too deep or the mud is too thick.
My Joy Amidst Controlled Chaos has created such a healthy tension in my life that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I realize that their are people worse off then us. There are other people going through cancer treatments just as Heather is. You are probably thinking that you should check on that Raspberry Truffle because you are not sure if you set the timer. ;o)
Let me encourage you to not miss those small reminders of joyous experiences that you had in the past. Maybe a lost joy that you had buried or forgotten. It’s there, it’s in you! All you need to do is remember!