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Life in Retirement: Cooking up the right approach


I know I’ve been going on and on about cooking lately – or lack thereof. ‘Learn to cook’ was front and centre on many lists and charts I was instructed to make when I contemplated what I would do with my time in retirement. It has stayed there through a couple of iterations of these charts over the last year since I scribbled the first one – and it’s still there.

Thing is, there are so many other things that interest me more. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating and usually enjoy what I throw together, even if it’s egg on toast. And I so appreciate other people’s love of cooking and their interest in sharing the results! But there are so many other things I’m interested in before I set my sights on learning to cook. I would like to try Tai Chi and find more time for volunteering, and the list of books I want to read is longer than I’ll have years in my life to tackle. The cooking item gets further and further down the list, as it always has.

I approach many things with gusto and I’m even good at some of them. Pickle Ball, for instance, was an immediate hit when I gave it a try at a conference. I think I move toward things with an open mind, whatever comes my way. Like the many times my sister and brother-in-law helped with intensive projects every summer when I was still living in the big house. We dismantled, painted and re-built the large fence one year, and constructed a huge stone patio another.

Once I was talked into painting the outside of the multi-storey house and spent days scurrying up and down ladders and hoisting scaffolding across the perimeter. I spent hours on the very high roof where I painted the underside of the tricky peak. It all went off without a hitch, not a scrape or a single bruise. Until I went to the kitchen and sliced my finger open cutting limes for the beers.

Yup, as soon as you add a kitchen utensil I’m hooped. But that’s okay. As my adult daughter said recently, ‘At least I wasn’t raised by someone who lived through the Great Depression and cooked things like Aspic. I mean, I’ve never had to eat anything suspended in jello.’ That’s about as close to a cooking compliment as I’m likely to get.

Of course, this is also the person who as a 12 year-old exclaimed, ‘You can have the stove AND the oven on at the same time?!’ So she grew up having pretty low expectations of my cooking abilities. But she survived and so will I!

In fact, I’m going to take out the latest version of my ‘Things to do in retirement’ chart and change it to read: Learn to cook well. And I might simply cross the whole thing off in the next version. Sometimes good enough truly is good enough!

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