Hello Dear Blog Readers,
Thanks for sticking with me through some challenging times. I missed getting a blog post out recently due to moving to a new house for the first time in 26 years. We had two weeks. And then I broke my ankle by slipping on some gravel. Last week, during surgery, the doctor inserted a plate and six screws. Next week she takes the sutures out.
Now I have been immobile for weeks and will be this way for almost two months longer. That’s what I want to write to you about today: my inability to cook.
I figure that you, like me, love to get in the kitchen. How odd then, to not do so because it’s too hard logistically. I can hop in with my walker, but then it’s difficult to pick up things because I’d be letting go of my bar of metal. The worst thing I can do now is fall and damage the ankle further, the doctor said.
Then there’s the scooter. (I’ve got all the things, including crutches and a shower chair.) I can whiz into the kitchen on it, my knee on its seat. That’s quite fun. It’s slightly better than the walker because I don’t feel as tipsy. But I’m further from the counter. I can’t reach the plates and glasses easily, bend down far enough to put cutlery in the dishwasher or pick up a bowl or saucepan with confidence.
You’re probably thinking I could chop at the dining room table. Yes I could, but doing anything at the table is hard now because my foot is supposed to be elevated as much as possible. (Guests who eat with us have to tolerate my bandaged splint on a pillow on the table.)
So for now, others cook for me or bring me commercially-prepared food. Actualy the response from my community of friends and former students and clients has been mind-boggling. Almost every day, people bring meals, soups, restaurant orders, and leftovers. Three challahs have arrived, two homemade. A friend bought boxes of chicken pieces that need only be heated, with a tub of mashed potatoes made by her son. Another sent a giant frozen jar of chicken soup. Just right.
I’m full of gratitude and awe. I can’t get to my office to write thank you notes, because it’s up seven stairs, so I try to be profuse wth my thanks.
I do love seeing everyone and eating all kinds of tasty things. But I miss cooking. I miss the muscle memory of it. I miss making my own dishes, most of which are largely vegetables. (Vegetables have been a scarce part of the arriving foods, which surprised me.)
I’m also surprised by how much time I used to devote to shop, prep and cook. I didn’t notice the time sink until it all stopped. But I didn’t even think of it as a time sink. Mostly it was a pleasure to shop, prep, cook and bake. To page through cookbooks and decide what to make. To stroll through stores with a basket and consider the options. To rummage through the fridge and make a meal from odds and ends. To make pancakes for breakfast on the weekend just becuase I felt like it. What a privilege!
I’ll be back at it eventually, I know. You probably want to tell me to be patient. But for now, I’ll just wish you happy holidays. And tell you that I envy your time in the kitchen, whipping up meals, snacks, holiday cookies and whatever else you choose. Maybe you’d like to change places with me and get fussed over by friends like I have been. Yes, it’s fantastic! Just don’t break your ankle to get there.