Cooking and Eating

My mom never listened to me (and she must have thought I never listened to her). For a few years after graduating from my university, I stayed at my parents’ place and spent more than an hour to commute to work. I usually worked until late and as a result had supper at home late at night. It was only something to take to live and I didn’t want to spend time on it. I preferred something simple and told it to my mom, but she always prepared something that takes time to have such as hot pot. Eating was not something to enjoy but a time consuming daily task to me.

At that time I only thought I didn’t have time, but it might not be a matter of time. It might be the way of my thinking. I could have thought that supper was a time to forget about the job and release myself. But because of the demanding job I was not mentally healthy enough to think in that way. I don’t know if my mom wanted me to enjoy supper for this reason or she simply didn’t listen to me. Whichever it was, one thing that worsened the situation was that I didn’t know what cooking for other people is like then.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I went to ROM, Royal Ontario Museum, right after being laid off by the uncivilized company. Whenever I go there, as I wrote in an previous post, I find different things interesting or attractive to me. This time, a collection of cookware and tableware in the Pompeii special exhibition caught my attention. The common practice in Pompeii, or in any ancient Roman cities, seems not very different from that in Japan in the Samurai era as we see in so-called samurai dramas or movies; in upper-class houses, the kitchen was a busy place where servants worked and the dining room was a place for the rich people to enjoy meals, as depicted by the practically designed cookware and the decorative tableware. But that style of having a meal, which is still common in many societies today, is only a form of happiness, I believe. After having experienced living by myself and cooking for myself, I’ve found that cooking can be as fun as having a meal especially when cooking for other people.

Yesterday I had Izakaya Hiro with my ex-coworkers. In an old post that I wrote a little after moving to my current apartment room, I wrote that I would invite my friends and have a party. Izakaya is Japanese style bar restaurant where people enjoy drinking and eating traditional and modern Japanese food. Izakaya Hiro is a small party at my place where I serve my original Japanese and Asian fusion food to my friends. I enjoyed cooking for my friends and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the meal. It was really fun. I’ve had Izakaya Hiro several times and now I know what cooking should be like and what eating should be like.

In the Izakaya Hiro yesterday we talked about a book that I wrote about in an early post: 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん (My Gabai Grandma from Saga). In the book, the author tells about his financially-poor AND happy life with his grandma in his childhood. Today I read the book again and found something I have forgotten, which happens to be one of the 12 tools for more mindful living as I wrote in the previous post: be grateful. We tend to seek things that we don’t have and forget to appreciate what we have. Whether we are happy or not depends on how we think. Interestingly, in the foreword the author says that even layoff could be good if you think differently; it could be a chance to release you from a demanding life. When I read it, I thought “bingo!” Of course it does not mean that I don’t need to do job hunting, but it means that the current unstable situation could be a good period for me.

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