By : Briana Salim
While others saw themselves in Remy, the hopeful dreamer that uses cooking as a satisfying escape, I saw myself in Emile, his brother who has an equally large passion but a much smaller understanding of food, one that stops at the fact that it tastes good.
If you told me 10 years ago that my very first article for a food journal would be inspired by a Disney movie about a rat who chases his dreams to become Paris’ number 1 chef, I would laugh and think you’re joking for two reasons -- first, there is no way I would have been so emotionally moved by a cartoon rat, and second, it’s very unlike me to be brave enough to write for a journal, especially one about food. But hey, I guess life always has its way of surprising you -- although not always in the best way, I’m glad I was proven wrong this time.
For those of you who haven’t watched Ratatouille, please cancel all your plans tonight and make this a priority -- I promise you won’t regret it. Without spoiling too much of the story, Remy’s journey towards his dreams of being a great chef was fueled by the quote
“Anyone can cook”. I remember thinking “... anyone but me!”.
While others saw themselves in Remy, the hopeful dreamer that uses cooking as a satisfying escape, I saw myself in Emile, his brother who has an equally large passion but a much smaller understanding of food, one that stops at the fact that it tastes good. Until recently, my part in the cooking process never went beyond steps that didn’t determine the success of the dish -- it was always cutting the ingredients or stirring the pot. I never found the opportunity or need to cook a full meal -- and that slowly manifested into the belief that I couldn’t.
Unlike other inspirational stories of people’s first experience with cooking, mine was abrupt, rough and 100% void of the intention of making it a hobby. I started because I had to (I started living alone). I used to see cooking with so much fear and anxiety, scared that I was going to burn the whole kitchen down. But to my surprise, I slowly started to understand what others meant when they found peace in cooking, a satisfaction of creating something from scratch, a feeling that you wouldn’t get from doing anything else... and this is coming from someone who set off the fire alarm while (1) boiling water to cook pasta and (2) heating up my leftover brownie (for 2 minutes, oops!). I found myself enjoying it so much that even Doordash and Postmates felt the change -- no longer under my frequently used apps, the “hungry?” and “hey! We missed you!” notifications kept coming in.
That’s when I realized that we all have been approaching the idea of cooking the wrong way. It was never something binary, a ‘skill’ that you either have or do not have. You don’t have to be either a Remy or an Emile -- you can be a little bit of both! Just like other things in life, your ability to cook exists within a spectrum -- one that you have complete control over. If you want to be able to cook, all you have to do is start and keep on going. Of course, some people might seem like they have a head start, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up.
If you’re reading this and you share the same fear of cooking, I encourage you to start tomorrow. Start with something easy -- like grilled cheese! Gain your confidence and who knows, in a couple of years from now, you could be writing an article for your very own food journal. I’m not going to tell you it is an easy one day switch from dreading cooking to being a pro at it, but just remember, as the wise Remy once said -- Anyone can cook!