Recently, my husband and I had my co-worker and his wife over for dinner. I cooked the Indian recipes I learned during a class I took in San Francisco. I set a beautiful table—although, it was nearly ruined 10 minutes before my guests were scheduled to arrive. My curious cat Atticus jumped up on the table to inspect the full water glasses (he loves water) and knocked one of them across the silk tablecloth and pashmina shawl I used as a runner. I promptly threw them in the dryer and everything was good as new in 15 minutes. Good thing my guests were running late.
I learned to cook with my grandmother. She was a great cook and loved to cook for her family. She was patient and never stressed about the mess I made in her kitchen. After I was married, I started collecting cookbooks, reading them like some people read novels. That was 19 years ago. I am a good cook and love to cook for people. While some people cook only because they have to eat, I cook as a hobby. I love to cook for people. I love to see people enjoy what I cook for them.
My latest volunteer project also involves food. My friend Stephanie Meineke and I are co-chairs of the I-HELP program at St. George’s Episcopal Church. I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program) offers single men shelter, food, and support though the gracious, generous, and continued support of over 60 Monterey County churches, synagogues, temples, and religious organizations including St. George's. I-HELP has never missed a night of offering services for the homeless in its 15 years of operation. What a great program! On the third and fifth Thursdays of the month, the volunteers at St. George's provide a meal, conversation, shelter and breakfast to-go for 25-30 homeless men. I get the same satisfaction cooking for these guys as I do cooking for my friends.
It is who I am—I feed people. It feeds my soul.