The Best Moments In Life, In Cooking

This should have been posted New Year's Day.

The fall in Ontario.

2009. Boxing Day. Tons of turkey leftovers.

Problem: no mayonnaise, only Miracle Whip (the enemy creamy, white spread).

What to do?

I know: I’ll use the whisk the missus got me for Christmas. Two egg yolks, mustard, vinegar in a bowl. Whisk whisk whisk.

Add canola oil while whisking. Whisk whisk whisk.

Whisk whisk whisk.

Phew, is this ever going to finish?

A shared joke that leaves the group in stitches; realizing a  beautiful woman is smiling at you because she likes you; hearing your favourite song come on the radio unexpectedly; your baby’s joy at seeing you come home at night; a good lunchtime COD sesh; completing your sets of deads and still having tons in the tank.

The best moments in life are ephemeral. The only thing to do is not be too distracted to appreciate them while they’re occurring; to enjoy them before the mundane details of life rush your thoughts.

Look around during these moments and food is probably close by: catching up over dinner with old friends; comparing your baby’s achievements with your best friend’s over beers; seeing family you haven’t seen in 20 years over thanksgiving; a shared bottle of good wine with someone you love; your baby grabbing a macaroni noodle from your hand and eating it for the first time.

Babies are full of great moments.

The mayonnaise came together on Boxing Day; it was way more whisking than I was expecting. It was the first time I had made it with just a whisk (I usually use a food processor).

Those turkey sandwiches were the best I’d ever eaten. I was smiling about that mayo for two days afterwards: I made mayonnaise with just a whisk!

I didn’t look up the recipe. Everything came back the moment I decided that I wasn’t going to settle for Miracle Whip and I was too lazy to go to the grocery store.

Cooking is full of those great moments: the sizzle of a steak hitting a properly heated pan; the thrill of chopping an onion in under seven seconds (and not losing any appendages in the process); your pastry cream thickening right before your eyes; the smell of your very own, freshly baked bread. The self-confidence you gain when you just realized you pulled off thanksgiving for 10 people, all by yourself. The full bellies of good friends who ate too much of your cooking, because it was so good to them. The smug pleasure of getting the missus to admit: I didn’t even mind the mushrooms.

Cooking enriches.

Cooking energizes.

Cooking empowers.

Here’s the thing: anyone can do it. Anyone can create those moments.

And I want to show you how.

See you in the kitchen.

Getting the cheese just melty enough.

Jason Kemp is a geek trapped in a cool guy's body. He hand crafts software for the web and mobile devices. He excels at user interface design, the deadlift and barbecue. He is @ageektrapped across the internet.

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