Love Thyself

It was a Sunday morning. My wife had taken the kids to church, and I was alone in the house. I spent some time chasing a guinea fowl in the yard, but failing to catch it, returned inside to do the responsible thing: pick up toys and clutter. I hadn’t gotten far into my chores, however, before the kitchen called.

Lunch with myself

Lunch with myself

Shifting things around in the fridge for inspiration, I remembered some toro and sea urchin I’d purchased at the Japanese market a few days before and hadn’t used yet. With dinner plans for the evening and time running out on the freshness clock, it was now or never. So I got out the short grain rice and began rinsing it.

Cooking, for some people is, itself, a chore. For me, it’s more like meditation. I like the act of preparing something to eat — unlike the writing or painting I do, it is more elemental, more immediately useful. And it’s impermanent —  you make something beautiful, eat it, and it’s gone.

My wife likes to tell a story of when we were working together, before we were even dating. We leaved nearby one another, and both close to our office. So sometimes we would walk home together for lunch — she to her apartment, me to mine. She would ask me what I was going to make for lunch, and I would tell her. As she puts it when recounting those days to friends, “I thought he was full of it.”

In my 20s, my friends used to marvel that I would sometimes stay home on a Friday or Saturday night, open a bottle of wine, and cook myself a multi-course dinner. It seemed nothing unusual to me — I was just doing one of my favorite things. So it was that Sunday at lunch. Simply a nice opportunity to be in the kitchen and to do something nice for myself.

I sat at the table and ate my beautiful sushi lunch, nice and slowly, savoring every bite, every sip of cold Sapporo beer. A slideshow screensaver played on the large computer monitor in the next room — photos from vacations to Mexico, San Francisco, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe; kids and their friends at every stage from cradle to elementary school; amber wine-fueled dinner parties in abundance; dishes of food from meals past. Warm memories, the perfect visual accompaniment to a delicious lunch.

Next time you’re all by yourself, have some time on your hands and get hungry, rather than grabbing leftovers from the fridge or something to microwave from the freezer, get out the pots and pans and make yourself something special. Pretend you’ve got a VIP coming to dine (which, really, you do — after all, who’s more important to you than you?). Who cares what time it is — open a bottle of wine or pour yourself a beer. If it’s breakfast, make a bloody mary.

Remember, properly loving your spouse, your parents, your friends, your siblings, your neighbors and your fellow humans begins with properly loving thyself.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 16:06:59

    Nice picture, sushi on leaf plates, sushi on a barrel stave.
    Nana always made herself lovely meals, not quite as well but the wine was there.


  2. April
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 19:16:49

    Lovely Sean!


  3. rachelocal
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 22:46:27

    Loved this post, Sean! You inspired me to go out and get some sushi by myself and for myself (I have yet to learn to make it).


  4. Michelle
    May 01, 2013 @ 00:43:12

    I loved this one, Sean. You’re exactly right, and so well put. Did you ever look at the Deborah Madison book from a few years back, What We Eat When We Eat Alone? It really bugged me because it’s basically all about “look at this really gross thing that I make for myself when nobody’s around.” Make something good for heaven’s sake and write about that. (Says she who, in her 20s spent time alone cooking through the whole Silver Palate series as if they were holy books. Egads.)


    • scolgin
      May 01, 2013 @ 01:13:47

      Thanks Michelle! Don’t you love how someone takes a particular type of habit or person, and makes ridiculous extrapolations from that!? I’m sure there are many, many of us out there who find some of our greatest pleasure in a whole afternoon alone with nothing to do and a cookbook. 🙂


  5. Lisa Gaskin
    May 01, 2013 @ 01:47:42

    The plot thickens 😉


  6. coffeetablecookbook
    May 01, 2013 @ 17:03:33

    This is so well put, I relate completely. The meditation of cooking. Reading is this is like finding one of your own, someone who gets it. Well done!


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