… How To Cook.

In college, I nearly set the kitchen on fire trying to cook some expensive-ass pork chops. I literally had to get a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.

I once lost a Sim in a similar way and it triggered an existential crisis. The pork chop incident gave me a flashback.

It smelled really, really bad and it scared the absolute shit out of me. I nearly hung up my apron for good.

Then I remembered: We have a household rule.

When one person cooks, the other one cleans.

There was no way in hell I could survive if I had to always clean.

I had to get over my fear of burning alive and face that skillet head on—and I needed professional help. The next day, I enrolled in a six-week cooking course.

Each Thursday after class, I drove across town to chop potatoes and talk about mother sauces, then enjoyed a home (commercial kitchen) cooked meal with a single mom, a recently-divorced lawyer, three very recent immigrants from Vietnam and another college student. We were a motley crew, but one dedicated to not starving to death or cleaning the kitchen forever, so we persisted.

We chopped, we julienned, we sautéed, we made some pretty damn good sauces and, in the end, we graduated with little chef hats as well as the knowledge of how to throw together an edible meal most of the week. I personally left with a new sense of independence, a smug sense of self satisfaction and a lifelong love of cooking. I am literally cooking something as I’m typing this. (And just heard a sweet potato whistle like it’s going to explode, so I’m nervous.)

When you make food—for yourself or for others—you’re seeking to nurture. You are crafting something that fills a person’s belly, eases their hunger and shows them you care, even if that person is only you. That latter part is a kicker, because most people don’t count themselves as people.

They think of everyone else before they include themselves in the equation, and while it’s noble to care about others, that can’t really happen until we actually care about ourselves. Not “makeover, pedicures, expensive vacations” care—actual care. “Sit alone and let yourself be” care. “Yes you fucked that up, but it’s ok” care. “I’m sorry you almost burned down the kitchen and killed that Sim one time, but you’re ok!” care.

Cooking is caring—about people, about you. Care about you. Learn to fucking cook.