Five friends came round to my house for a meal yesterday. For many people that would be no big deal but for me it is quite a challenge. I am not confident of my cooking skills, and my house is normally pretty messy. Plus I've started to feel old-fashioned in my approach to food. I started cooking in the age when Elizabeth David was the last word in sophistication, and I still haven't really caught up with Jack Monroe, let alone Yotam Ottolenghi.
On the other hand, I like to see my friends and I enjoy company (sometimes) and I know that I spend too much time on my own, especially when I'm feeling low. So I'd decided to take a risk and invite some friends round.
Meanwhile, in the day job... I am currently helping on a counselling course. As part of the practice work from the course last week I needed to have a short counselling two-way session with one of the other course members about what's going on in our lives at the moment. When it was my turn to speak, what came up was the planned dinner.
To start with I found myself voicing all the negatives: I didn't know what to cook, I am often not ready in time when I've invited someone round, I get anxious, and so on. And then, having got all that out in the open, it somehow made room for the positives to come into my mind: I enjoy company; it's nice to return other people's hospitality; it will encourage me to clean the house!
I ended up by being able to acknowledge that both are true for me: I do find it stressful to entertain, even in a small way, and on this occasion I'm looking forward to it. Such a relief, to acknowledge the light and the dark, and to know that they are both true at the same time.
And the meal? I was ready on time (just), the food was more or less OK even if not great, and most importantly, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves – including me.
What about you? Have you tackled any challenges lately? What were your thoughts beforehand, and how did it work out in the end?
A Moodscope member.
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