My ex-husband was an awesome cook. He came from a family of fabulous cooks, and he lived up to the family legacy, experimenting with his own custom barbecue technique, making custom birthday cakes and generally perfecting -- and improving -- any recipe he tried.
During our marriage, I was definitely the sous chef, not the kitchen chief. Sure, I could handle the basics -- I could flip a decent pancake, follow a chocolate chip cookie recipe to beat the band and manage spaghetti and tacos when quick weeknight dinners were needed.
Most of the cooking, however, fell to my ex, especially at dinner time. It started because my job required long hours while he worked from home and continued because he was just better at it. Over time, I grew to seriously doubt my own abilities in the kitchen. I didn't just believe he was more practiced -- I believed I was genuinely bad at it.
When we separated, I suddenly had to cook 100% of the time. Sure, I did plenty of frozen pizzas and soup on my early nights alone, but eventually, I started to
experiment with recipes. I learned how to grill a great steak, discovered a juicy chicken recipe and perfected the salmon and zucchini dinner that is my go-to on my nights alone.
As time passed, I got better. Tonight, as I made a pasta and brussels sprouts dinner with a lemon parmesan sauce, I looked around the kitchen and realized suddenly that I can cook. I probably won't be on MasterChef any time soon, but the belief that I had that I was "just a bad cook" was totally wrong.
It was my Minute of Joy for today. I can cook. Who knew?