Yes, I cooked. Not just in the microwave, which I do quite often. I cooked on a regular stove.
Over the past weekend, I fixed a simple vegetarian pasta dish. It tasted good. Even Larry, who says he’s a carnivore, not an omnivore, liked it and asked for seconds.
It probably sounds ridiculous that a 50 year old person is happy about cooking a simple dish on the stove.
I’ve written about why I don’t cook very often before. If you’ve read about my OCD obsession with stoves, you know that I have had a really hard time in the past cooking on a conventional stove.
Most of my problems with the stove are in the past. This is the way it was:
It was all wrapped up in the obsessions I had about safety. I worried that I was going to leave the stove on and cause a fire, which would hurt or kill my family.
So when the cooking was done, I compulsively turned the stove off and then on again, off, then on again, over and over. I stared at the stove, trying to convince myself that it was really off.
And then there were the contamination fears. I worried that I wouldn’t clean up after the food preparation, and errant crumbs and spills would draw ants and bugs and mice. And then there would be more contamination.
So I compulsively cleaned, wiping the counter over and over, eyeing it from every angle to make sure it was clean.
It was easier to just not cook.
I eventually learned that my compulsive acts did nothing to help me. OCD is tricky like that. Nothing calms the uncertainty for long before more compulsions have to be done.
The real way to break the OCD is to NOT give in to the compulsions, but rather, deal with the anxiety in other ways.
What worked for me was to leave the scene and get busy doing something else. Or I sometimes focused on the anxiety itself.
Whatever I did, I could not indulge in compulsions. In other words, once I turned off the stove, I had to walk away. I couldn’t check it. I couldn’t turn the knob to “make sure” it was off. Likewise, once I cleaned the counter—one pass over with disinfectant and water—I had to leave it.
My OCD has been better over the past several months. And I started thinking about cooking again. Larry and I eat out a lot. Both of us need to eat healthier. I decided that the best way for us to do that was to eat at home more and eat homemade food.
So I cooked Saturday night. I decided I could do it with a minimum of anxiety. And if I did get anxious, I had the tools to push through it.
I turned on the stove, cooked, and then I turned off the stove. I had a little bit of doubt. Then I turned away from the stove. I did OK.
I don’t think I’ll ever love to cook. It’s just not something I want to do a lot of. But if I can cook a healthy meal and feed my husband and myself at home, then I have accomplished something.
Have you cooked anything good lately?