Friday, July 22, 2005

Cannelloni, Take Me Away...

Last night I went into mama mode.

This last week at work has been painfully stressful, especially yesterday. I came home at 8 exhausted and still wired. To decompress, I went into my haven, the kitchen, and began cooking up a storm. I didn't have a plan. I didn't have a menu. I went Iron Chef.

I usually cook when I want to unwind but yesterday I went iron chef crazy. Part of the reason was that last night was one of the cooler nights in the city. The last few days have been so oppressively hot and humid that the idea of standing over a hot stove seemed torturous. Since the forecast stated it would be humid again tonight and subsequent nights, I took the opportunity to cook a feast that should last us through the weekend if not more.

Another reason was our cousins were coming to visit. Up until last night, I was under the impression that they would be coming to our place to visit. Since our cousins have kids, I wanted to make sure I had kid friendly eats around. The visit plan changed, of course, but that’s another story.

So last night, I prepared the following:

Chorizo Rice with Pigeon Peas
Grilled Chicken Legs w/Lime and Cilantro marinade
Meatballs with Bolognese Sauce
Chocolate Pudding Cups with Fresh Berries
Baby Back Chinese Spare Ribs
Chef Salad
Walnut Brownies w/Fudge middles

I had a blast. The house smelt divine. I was definitely in the mama zone. I call it the mama zone because when I was a child, I grew up in a predominately Irish/Italian neighborhood. Whenever I went to my friend’s house, their grandmas, aunts and mom would be cooking up a storm, hence, mama mode.

By the time Lrudlrick came home at 10:30, I had already packed them into containers. I felt so Iron Chefy. Lrudlrick doesn’t understand how cooking is relaxing. I’m sure he thinks I cook to impede his “Ultimate Fighter” aspirations. He’s told me already that we'll have fat babies. Yes, all references to Monica from Friends.

I’m not sure why I cook when I want to decompress. It came to me suddenly. I suppose cooking is like project management except without meetings and paperwork. You determine the outcome you desire, formulate the plan, acquire the tools necessary, modify as needed and evaluate the outcome. With cooking, it’s a one woman show. With my projects at work, it involves a lot of hands and sometimes too many cooks spoil the broth which leads to delays and as my boss says, “bullshit”.

When I cook, with a little help from science, I can guarantee the outcome and ensure a timely completion. It’s satisfying for my OCD. I may not be able to control the total outcome of my projects at work but I can with a simple Fettuccine Alfredo with Proscuitto and Broccoli Rabe.

Everyone needs that one activity that satisfies the quirks we all have.