Saturday, March 30, 2013

When grouchy...cook.

Yesterday, I was having one of 'those' days.  For no good reason, I was in a big fat grouch.  Maybe it's the unending winter, that keeps pushing it's way into my world, in between teasing moments of Spring. Maybe it's the lack of conversation about the weather that is part of every day in Ireland?  Maybe it was just an off day.

I'm one of those annoying people who is almost always in good form.  I don't know what to do when I am grouchy for no good reason.

Except cook.  Cooking always helps, even if it's just the joy of kneading dough until is succumbs to my will.  It's cathartic.

Last night, I decided to make pizza dough and sauce from scratch.  Mountain man inspired me, with two punnets of cherry tomatoes, which were bought for a party he had while I was away.  I'm not sure what exactly the tomatoes were for, but they were still in the fridge when I got back, so they spent 45 minutes in a hot (200°C) oven with 3 cloves of garlic, two sprigs of rosemary and a few sprigs of fresh thyme, along with a glug (technical term) of gooey balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and a drizzle of cold pressed, organic sunflower oil.  It's a failsafe way to turn somewhat tasteless out of season food into something worthy of your belly.

The smell was intoxicating.  It's hard to be grouchy with smells that good, but I was determined to cling on nonetheless.

While the pizza dough rose slowly in a clingfilm covered bowl atop the radiator, I chopped pizza toppings, burned some shallots that were supposed to be caramelising and dropped a carton of feta on the floor.  Mountain Man wisely handed me a drink and cleaned up my mess, even washing the burned saucepan and chopping fresh shallots for me.  Did I mention I love my husband?

Dough refuses to rise any faster than it feels like, forcing me to wait and take a breath.  Cooking teaches patience, who knew?!

Finally, 2 hours after I started, dinner was ready.  Mountain Man had a
movie lined up and ready to watch and I sank gratefully onto the couch.  Biting into the first slice of pizza made me feel even better.  In spite of my weird mood and determination to burn everything, the pizza tasted like a little piece of heaven and with the blinds down and a blanket to snuggle into, I didn't even notice that it was snowing again.

It always works.  No matter what my mood is, cooking always cheers me up.  Am I the only one who finds cooking restorative, cathartic, meditative?

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