Alchemy

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One of the strangest but most helpful Parenting EpiphaniesTM I’ve had is when I realized that parenting and cooking often give me the same kinds of anxiety because they are both a kind of alchemy.

Sure, there are basic recipes and best practices and knowledge handed down from generation to generation. But every set of ingredients is unique, and the oven at your place might not act like the oven at Barbara’s, because Barbara blackmailed her husband into buying her a super fancy new one, so who’s to say that a recipe is going to turn out the same way given all the variables.

And that gives me great anxiety because that is a very large responsibility. You can kill people with a badly cooked meal, or at least make them very sorry they ate your food.

So to fight cooking anxiety you just have to do it. Just find some dumb, basic recipes and follow them until you learn why you do the things in the order you do them. It starts to make a kind of sense, and you get to know your appliances better so you can make smalltalk with them while you wait for your toast to brown.

Parenting is similar. You read the recipes but you basically just have to get in there and get your hands dirty. Over and over again, with the same recipe, until you could make it blindfolded. Sometimes it will turn out great and sometimes you’ll forget to put the foil over the pork while it roasted, and you’ll chew it twice as long. You will still be grateful for the food.

P.S. Tonight I made country-style pork ribs and my kiddo went to bed very happy. #twofer