Flexing One’s Courage Muscles

With her pretty hair tucked into a little cap, arms bared to the elbow, and a checked apron which had a coquettish look in spite of the bib, the young housewife fell to work, feeling no doubts about her success, for hadn’t she seen Hannah do it hundreds of times? The array of pots rather amazed her at first, but John was so fond of jelly, and the nice little jars would look so well on the top shelf, that Meg resolved to fill them all, and spent a long day picking, boiling, straining, and fussing over her jelly. She did her best, she asked advice of Mrs. Cornelius, she racked her brain to remember what Hannah did that she left undone, she reboiled, resugared, and restrained, but that dreadful stuff wouldn’t ‘jell’.

She longed to run home, bib and all, and ask Mother to lend her a hand, but John and she had agreed that they would never annoy anyone with their private worries, experiments, or quarrels. (..) So Meg wrestled alone with the refractory sweetmeats all that hot summer day, and at five o’clock sat down in her topsy-turvey kitchen, wrung her bedaubed hands, lifted up her voice and wept. ~~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, Chapter 28.

I know how Meg feels. I seem to cook fine when there is someone to ask if anything goes wrong, but on my own I question the progression of each stage. After a while, I just want to sob dismally, wring my hands, and escape someplace comforting. But after a lovely holiday of real basmati rice and proper curries and love in every meal, it’s going to be hard to return to the residence cafeteria  (though as cafeterias go it’s probably a very good one, and I do appreciate its halal options). So though it makes me nervous, I’m determined post-break to practice flexing my courage muscles and try cooking more often, because it’s really home-food that I love best, and I’d like to be brave enough to cook for friends on a more regular basis.

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