Monday, November 7, 2011

The Last Supper

I wrote this little ditty for a contest on OWN television.  It's a true story of my love affair with food.  At first I didn't want to share but decided that sharing my loves and passions with other people could be an inspiration.  Hope you enjoy!
P.S.  My son came up with a new recipe idea.  I've been meaning to post it but the plate is empty before I can take pics.  Look for it and other exciting videos soon!

The Last Supper

The last thing I did for my grandmother when she was living was cook her supper.  At the time I wasn’t a very good cook, but for me, it was one of the few ways I could show an old lady who didn’t do public displays of affection my love.  We had chopped beef steaks with gravy.   She didn’t jump for joy or sing my praises; she just filled her belly and said, “That wasn’t bad.”  Good I thought;  that’s the least I could do for the lady who helped take care of me and made the best eggs and grits in the world.  Fast forward 15 years and I am blogging about food, teaching cooking classes, and even gathering information and recipes to write a book on food; finally making the connection that using my creative energy to manipulate fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices is an important part my life.

I started out as a dancer but remember saying as a child that if I didn’t have to go to college I would cook.  Unfortunately in the 70’s, the only women of color I saw who cooked worked in the cafeterias at school.  There was no Food TV, no Cooking Channel.   The only person I did see on television was Cajun cook Justin Wilson on PBS.  I didn’t see any major cooking role models therefore I went to college and danced.   That was the only other thing I enjoyed in life and between watching Debbie Allen on Fame and Soul Train, I knew I could do it.  I was a dancing machine and after undergrad went into Dance/Movement Therapy for graduate school.  While in school, I got lost in cooking stores loving on the pots, pans, and egg timers.  I picked my dad’s brain for his Jambalaya recipe, and made the tofu recipes I saw on the back of it's packaging.  My graduate studies in dance didn’t feel like my main love anymore.  I felt like I was in a marriage not totally in love and passionate about my significant other; feeling too ashamed to admit that I was seeing someone else and didn’t feel the marriage arrangement was the right fit in the first place.  “I must go on!” I said; I had to finish what I started, so I danced until my heart felt whispers became little rocks thrown at the windows of my glass house.  My sudden illness before graduation; pebble one.    The awesome job opportunity I accepted that helped me to realize I wasn’t cut out to be a Dance Therapist; pebble two.  My journal entries that stated “I HATE THIS!”, meaning my life; pebble three.  My only reprieve;  my high rise apartment overlooking Lake Michigan that I was able to get because of my job, and a new network I discovered called Food TV.   Watching cooking shows and trying new recipes became my comfort, my refuge.  Whereas dance gave me the self-esteem I needed as a teenager to keep me from totally losing my mind; cooking gave me a sense of comfort, of true creativity, and joy.  The same comfort, creativity, and joy I shared with my grandmother a few years earlier.  Though it wasn’t her last supper, it was my last gesture of love to someone who didn’t always know how to give a hug and my re-introduction to a lover that tickled my tasetbuds and warmed my soul.

1 comment:

Chanel said...

How fabulous to have an epiphany about your true calling. It's wonderful to be able to do what you love (cook) and still do what you like (dance) when you want. I feel like I'm going through something similar, with my design degree (fashion) which I do like a lot, but I LOVE to travel... guess I'll see where that goes :)