I love to cook. It’s my favorite pastime – right up there with gardening. But I have a confession to make. I’m really, really, really timid about cooking for people. There, I’ve said it. I’m Kim, I’m a Foodie and I have mageirocophobia – fear of cooking (for others). I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately for a couple of reasons. First, the summer has nearly passed by and I haven’t had a single dinner party.
It’s not like I don’t have the tools necessary…a beautiful cottage kitchen,
I have amazing copper pans, all the gourmet gadgets a girl could ever want, scads of table linens from the south of France and hundreds of cookbooks. But when it comes right down to it, I have terrible cooking stage fright.
I even missed a meeting at the beach with a good friend once – I cancelled at the last minute because I offered to bring the food and then couldn’t imagine a ‘good enough’ menu.
I want to be like Bridget Jones. During final preparation of a birthday dinner with an exotic and complicated menu, just as her dearest friends were about to arrive, she peeked into her leek soup and it had turned blue! (not a good idea to tie leeks together with blue twine). Bridget never faltered. She smiled, had another sip of wine, and enjoyed the toast by her friend Tom, “Well done Bridge, four hours of careful cooking and a feast of blue soup, omelette and marmalade. I think that deserves a toast, don’t you? To Bridget, who cannot cook, but who we love…just as she is.”
Have you heard of Outstanding in the Field? This amazing group, led by Jim Denevan, feeds anywhere from 130 to 200 people at a time – without a kitchen.
Their mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. It is a roving culinary adventure – literally a restaurant without walls.
The talented staff arrives in this bus and puts together an afternoon/evening of magic.
Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, they all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table. How I long to attend one of these…and to gather my friends together at my humble table with the same spirit and passion this group has.
handmade pasta – no kitchen here
they didn’t have a kitchen for this either.
Uh huh. 175 guests. No kitchen.
I mentioned that I’ve been thinking about my fear of cooking for a couple of reasons. This is the other one – a great book and blog I just found out about by Sandy Couglin, called Reluctant Entertainer.
Sandy comforts people who are reluctant to entertain and urges them forward through both inspiration and practical guidance. She encourages them to open up their home to others, helping them feel comfortable in their own skin, their own kitchen, their own home – imperfections and all, and to be free and real with other people! Sandy calls it real entertaining for real people.
So I’m going to spend some time on Sandy’s blog and in her book, and I’m going to schedule a dinner party. And I will just be myself. And it’s going to be magic.