Cooking Lessons


Today marks my sixth month of blogging. What an extraordinary experience it has been.  Like a chef concocting a new recipe, I thought it would be a fun way to express my passions and connect with a few people as fascinated with the internal stew of the psyche as I am. But I was totally unprepared for the nourishment I’d receive in return. To celebrate today’s milestone, I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learned.
(1)  Blogging is not a piece of cake. It’s thinking and reading and creating a recipe and gathering ingredients and measuring and stirring and preheating the oven and watching the clock and stopping the baking process before the layers are overdone and cooling and handling them with care so they don’t fall apart and making the icing and decorating with delectable images, then washing and putting everything away so you can get on with your life — all the stuff that goes into creating what you hope will be a delicious treat for an unknown clientele and then discovering that some people like the way it tastes and some don’t and learning to be okay with that!
(2)  Blogging is not for wimps. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. A blog is like a restaurant anyone can patronize. And I mean that literally! People have different tastes and opinions and there are a few who see other peoples’ blogs as open invitations to push their own agendas or flaunt their self-importance. I’ve had to get tough and uninvite one or two.
(3)  Bloggers do not dine alone. Until six months ago writing isolated me from my friends more than it connected me to them. I saw them rarely and between visits they knew virtually nothing about my work. With this blog I have renewed some treasured old friendships and formed several new ones, and all of you know exactly what I’m cooking because you’re digesting it! This is a particularly lovely and completely unexpected benefit of blogging.
(4)  The best dishes have the fewest ingredients. My writing has always been a bit wordy. I say “a bit,” but in one of the earliest articles I submitted to a professional journal the editor crossed out about one in every six words! While this was a definite wake-up call, it did not reduce my verbal flow with anywhere near the efficiency of blogging. Writing two 500- to 600-word posts a week for six months is correcting the sloppy writing habits of 50 years!
(5)  The best recipes are creative and challenging without being too difficult. Technical writing and left-brained theorizing are appropriate for gourmet chefs, but the average cook? Not so much. Few of us have the interest or luxury to spend all day in the kitchen. Blogging is expanding my awareness of my audience and helping me practice what I preach. I’m ready to stir things up more in the cauldron of my right brain. Now where’s my ladle?
(6)  Cooking improves with feedback. Your comments have exposed me to ideas I’ve never considered and questions I’ve never asked; and you’ve inspired me to try out new recipes I never would have attempted without you.
(7)  There are some really fascinating, wise, generous-spirited and infinitely lovable people out there, and I’m very grateful so many of them dine at Jeanie’s Restaurant.  Thank you, everyone.

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0 Responses

  1. divine……one time a famous classical vocal singer asked me…
    how can she break a level and move to higher level of sublime
    singing……replied…..cook in the kitchen as worship of work…
    serve with love….eat as grace of god… is a finest yoga
    school of senses….and temple of god… is god….
    their is a saying that knowing one you will know every one….
    all creativity are prayers of divine….including writing…blogging..
    the menu…..the taste of your cooking is divine…..thanks for inviting
    my job is to cook meal as worship of work…..god appears as
    taste ……you made god appear in your cooking…..enjoy the meal
    every moment….every time
    bless you….divine jean raffa….
    love all…

    1. Thank you Ram0Singhal, for your reminder of the sacred in everything. I love thinking of a kitchen as a temple and creativity as a prayer! And I’m glad you like my cooking!

  2. Jeanie,
    How happy we are for your decision and courage to step into “the kitchen” six months ago.
    What a fabulous metaphor for bringing meaning to an extremely important truth, by equating it to something we all know in our every day lives.
    Loving awareness to anything and everything we create to share with others requires careful attention, even if it is simply scrambling egg. It means breaking the eggs, seasoning and stirring the mixture, carefully heating the frying pan so as not to burn the butter (we still enjoy the taste of the real thing), gently pouring the egg mixture into the pan, stirring and watching until the eggs are firm but not dry, serving them up in as delectable a presentation as possible, and later soaking and scouring the dirty frying pan.
    You have mastered the art. Thank you and keep it up.

  3. Hi Sally,
    Thank you. Yes, and, in fact, careful attention to everything — whether scrambling an egg, writing a blog, decoding a dream, or breathing — is the primary ingredient for cooking up consciousness, i.e. living your life wide awake! Thanks for that reminder!

  4. Jeanie – I enjoy your blog. You are a much more committed and consistent chef than I am! And your creations always honor the appetite!

  5. Thank you, Susan. It helps that “cooking” is my passion and I’m able to devote plenty of time and energy to it. And I’m delighted at the similarity of our palates!

  6. Dear Jeanie, I don’t always leave a reply, but I read your blog regularly and you are a great cook!!! there is always a hidden surprise that only at the end of my bite, I get a sense of it, many thanks for taking time and feeding us with divine’s love and wisdom… in deep gratitude. Serena

  7. Thank you for taking the time to write, Serena, and for being a regular reader. Your image of finding a hidden surprise at the end of each bite gives me such pleasure! Would that I could prepare actual food the same way!! But alas, that is not my gift…. Many thanks, Jeanie

  8. Dear Jeanie,
    Joining in on the chorus of congrats!! You’re adding immeasurably to our lives, opening doors and windows on the dream world, calling us to join your exploration of the twilight borders of the unconscious. Proud to call you ally,

  9. Hi William,
    Back at you, friend. And thanks for launching us onto a new metaphor! We’ve just about used up the cooking one and I’m ready to fling open the doors and windows and let in some fresh evening air!! I hope the explorations to come are as pleasing to your senses as the last six months have been. What fun this is.

  10. Dear Jeanie,
    I too want to join the others in the “chorus of congrats” and thank you for your delicious efforts! I too read all of your blogs and enjoy every one!
    I love the human connection of writing. Some of us are more geared toward solitude and giving to our communities via writing, art etc. Thank you for your gifts! They are magnificant! Blessings and love to you, Sandy

  11. Dear Sandy,
    Oh, oh, oh! I am shamefully wallowing in the pleasure of your kind words and those of the others who have taken the time to write me! Yes, as one geared toward solitude it is such a surprise to discover it is the “human connection of writing” that feeds me most. Thank you so much.
    Blessings and love to you too!

  12. This a great analogy of what you’re doing! I love it, but sometimes it’s a little too deep for me at that time. then I go back…and it resonates more.
    🙂 Donna G

  13. Thanks Donna, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. You’re not the first person to tell me some of my posts are a bit difficult to understand! Sorry about that. I really appreciate that you keep coming back and I’m very happy to know you get more out of them the next time around!! Thank you for writing!

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