Because She Enjoyed Cooking

I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but it’s the truth: Tonight is the first time I’ve cooked a full meal for the kids and I since Emily died. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have made sure the kids have three meals every single day. I have prepared simple breakfasts, packed their lunch for school, and made sure they had dinner (thank you, Uber Eats and friends/family). I just haven’t had the motivation or desire to cook a legitimate meal but decided it was time to get back to it.

As I opened cabinets and began preparing our simple dinner of pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs, I saw all the canned goods and other items from the meals we had planned for the week Emily died. It all made me sad, because it reminded me how much Emily loved being in the kitchen.

Emily, The Adventurous Chef

When people ask me about my skills in the kitchen, I always respond by saying, “I’m a functional cook.” I can make nearly anything if I have a recipe to follow, I know how to cut up items and perform most necessary techniques, but I don’t love cooking. It’s something I do because, well, you have to if you want to eat.

However, Emily genuinely enjoyed cooking. She loved planning out our meals for the week. She liked finding new recipes and experimenting. And, much to my amusement, she also loved just looking at what we had in the pantry and throwing something together. If you ask me, I’d call Emily an adventurous chef.

I loved eating the food Emily made, but goodness did the kitchen look like chaos after! All that adventurous cooking often led to a sink full of random dishes, various spices and utensils scattered about, and somehow either flour or breadcrumbs ended up all over the floor. There’d also almost always be some sort of alcoholic beverage laying around since she’d often drink while she cooked.

Watching her cook made me laugh, and I loved the days when I could simply sit there and watch her work.

Some of my favorite “Emily meals” included her homemade chicken tenders, Petros, Skyline chili, and chicken cordon bleu. However, I don’t think I ever ate something Emily made that tasted bad, which is quite the feat.

But She Really Loved To Bake

Yes, Emily did a great job making dinners, but her true passion in the kitchen came in the form of baking. If she had free time or there was a holiday coming up, you better believe Emily had a plan for some sort of cake, cookies, or other baked goods.

In the time I knew Emily, we baked cookies several times. I also watched her bake cakes and cupcakes, and she whipped up some incredible strawberry turnovers once. I really don’t think there was a single thing she couldn’t bake.

Baking the items wasn’t enough, though. She decorated them too! She really loved it, and her skill level increased with each and every thing she made.

I think her biggest accomplishments were the cupcakes she made for the girls’ birthday parties this year. When I first mentioned ordering a cake for Eleanor’s party, she grabbed my arm and said, “Babe, let me make cupcakes for her party! It will be fun!” I told her she didn’t have to do that, but she insisted. And, she won some serious cool points as a stepmom with the cupcakes she made.

For Eleanor’s party, she made these adorable mermaid cupcakes that fit E’s mermaid/ocean themed party perfectly. I helped a bit, but mostly I just watched her in awe.

Then for Meredith’s party, she had to get especially creative because Meredith wanted ridiculously specific things. But, in true Emily fashion, she not only delivered, but exceeded all of our expectations.

She was the cutest little baker, and I loved watching her bring her ideas to life.

More Moments I Will Miss

When I stood in the kitchen tonight, I couldn’t help but cry. Emily is in literally every part of this home because every room holds memories we made together.

In the kitchen, I’ll remember the times we cooked side-by-side and the evenings I stood in there talking to her as she worked away at her latest variation of a recipe. I’ll remember the times she’d hand me something and say, “Babe, does this taste okay? I feel like it needs something but I don’t know what,” and the times she’d smack my hand when I’d try to sneak food while she was still working away. I’ll even remember the times when I’d be cooking dinner as she arrived home from work and she’d immediately come in the kitchen to give me a kiss or smack my butt and ask how much time she had before dinner would be ready.

Emily had been a welcome fixture in my kitchen for over two years now, and the idea of her not being in it makes me mourn her loss all over again. I don’t really know how I’ll ever recover from losing Emily, but because of her I have incredible memories related to cooking and eating, and that’s worth something I suppose.


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