When I lived in my first apartment by myself, in Calgary when I was, what 21?, I had really just begin to cook. I had always cooked but this was different – my own kitchen, my own things. I had cookbooks but they weren't designed for cooking for one university student so I harboured dreams of writing a cookbook for one. I was going to call it "Dancing with Myself". (You know, the song?)
Fast forward a decade (Wow. Was that a decade ago?) and I live in a nicer apartment (flat, now that I'm in England), with more cookbooks (still not designed for two people, but no matter), more kitchenware and a man – a boyfriend, partner, fiancee, whatever – who cooks with me.
We've been together 7 years and early on food was important. The first visit I made to Toronto I made him a knock-your-socks-off meal. Roasted red peppers with scallops and pesto, salmon on salad. I even made little flat breads. He was totally impressed and still talks about that meal. I knew it was good, firm favourites I was pretty sure I couldn't screw up with simple ingredients I would find in a boy's basic bachelor kitchen.
At any rate it worked and I got the boy.
We started having people over, and making ourselves great dinners, in our tiny galley kitchen in Toronto. Our Paris kitchen was even smaller - more like a closet. (I had to light the oven with a lit piece of spaghetti.) Now we have a lovely, but still small and no counter space, kitchen. (Clearly designed by someone who has never rolled out dough for a pie.)
Through all our kitchens we have cooked together. Prepping, washing up, flipping, stirring. We dance seamlessly around each other in the kitchen. We rarely bump into each other, just sensing where the other one is and sashaying around and through. We pass the salt, grind the pepper, stir each other's pots, discuss doneness and what's missing and comment and help. Our kitchen tango is beautiful and one of the many things I love about us.
At the moment we don't cook that often together – I do most of the cooking – between work, freelance and life that's just how it works out. And occassionaly C will come help and mistakenly stir something he shouldn't. But for the most part it's wonderful and special and it's where I feel the most grounded in my self – in my kitchen, with C nearby. Also, he does dishes while I potter, so that works out well.