After a strong, passionate recommendation by both Pelusa Molina and my cooking classmate Agustina, I decided to download and watch the movie “Julie & Julia”, based on the book written by Julie Powell.
I’ve just finished watching the film, and find myself with so many similarities with Julie. Well, maybe all food bloggers feel that way after this movie, since the story develops with aspiring writer Julie Powell feeling a lack of significance in her mundane secretarial job, and eventually embarks on a journey to complete a goal of 524 French recipes from Julia Child’s book within a year. She begins a blog to document the process and with time, started garnering a loyal bunch of readers and fans. She eventually finishes the entire book of recipes on time, and even though Julia Child was not impressed by her blog, Julie realizes that Julia Child has taught her how to cook, and how to appreciate the joy of cooking.
I’ve come to the conclusion that writing and cooking have very similar effects on those who enjoy it. Like writing, cooking relaxes you, it aleviates you from the pains of work and makes you forget momentarily the uncertainties of life. It reminds you that no matter how terrible your day might have been and how you don’t seem to be able to control your own life, at the end of the day, when you come home from work and beat egg whites together with sugar, you will get merengue. It’s knowing that no matter how shitty the economy and your pay may be, 1 cup of cream, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs will definitely become a pound cake when you place it in the oven for 40 minutes at 170 deg celcius.
Cooking has had extraordinary effects on me. I find myself becoming a little more crazily creative, and doing the impossible not to repeat a single recipe. I push myself to test out weird ingredients or just to test out different ways of cooking the same dish, over and over again. I go to bed thinking about a dish I have just managed to create (successfully or not), and some days I wake up with the alarm sounding in my head, opening my eyes to a new idea for baking or cooking. I spend hours checking up different recipes on the internet, seeking easy, non-complicated recipes that I hope will simplify my life and ground me despite the uncertainties of my future. Stations pass by when I am on the subway to or from work, and I am daydreaming of how to make that special Tiramisu cream or lemon mousse. This weird obession I have with cooking was totally unexpected and unpredictable. Never have I been so inspired in any particular activity, and never have I (I dare say), been so successful at many first attempts at random recipes.
I can be pretty reckless when I decide to make a certain dish. I search for the easiest-looking recipe, that sort of fool-proof guide for dummies that I believe cannot go wrong, and then I head to the nearest store to get the ingredients, recipe in hand. Juan once laughed at the fact that I couldn’t remember how many grams of walnuts or brown sugar I had to buy; he amost doubled over when I told the cashier to wait while I dug around my messy bag and fished out the handwritten recipe to verify the quantity. I don’t really know what I’m getting into everytime I try a new recipe – I kind of just dive into the flour, sugar, walnuts, cream and all, and hope it turns out well. Kind of like stepping off a cliff in Boracay, Philippines and not really knowing how it will turn out. But then just like cliff-diving, cooking a totally new and random recipe is so exhilirating and thrilling – you free fall and your heart literally stops in your mouth, and then WHAM! you hit the surface of the water and you feel a huge sense of accomplishment, and look for higher cliffs to dive from, high on the ecstacy of the unknown, of the ridiculous relief and joy you feel after a dish has turned out well.
Cooking is theraphy, and incredible joy and a terrific hobby. I feel complete.
This is me cliff-diving in Boracay. Gives me the same thrill as cooking.