You Say You Are Not an Artist but….

The smells from the kitchen make my mouth water. I wander in to find you chopping vegetables while the meat cooks in a pan, and one of your shows plays from Netflix on your iPad. I know from past experience that dinner will be delicious, even if it’s something I’ve never had before.

You say you have no passions, and you are in awe of the fact that I can write and draw. You have no idea that when I watch you cook, I feel as though I am seeing a masterpiece being created right in front of me.

I try to eat the ingredients while dodging your attempts to smack my hand away. You yell at me, “I need those for the dinner!”. I smile while walking away with a mouthful of shredded cheese. You shouldn’t create such succulent smells if you don’t want me to get ravenously hungry.

The growls from my stomach and the intense desire to eat have forced me to steal bits of diced onions from the cutting board and half-cooked meat from the pan. I love you for that.

You call me to the kitchen when it is ready, and I immediately get up to make a plate. I know you will be angry if I allow the food to get cold. This masterpiece is meant to be consumed hot and fresh. If it gets cold, it will be ruined, and you will be sad no matter how many times I tell you it is still good.

You say you are not an artist, but I can’t help but be reminded by the anger I have read from writers and painters whose work has been misused and misinterpreted.

I make a plate piled high with the selection of foods you’ve prepared. As usual, it is something more than the average dinners most people eat every night. There is always some new ingredient I have never had. It is always a twist on the ordinary.

I think about how all artist are inspired by other artists and how the trick is to take something someone else has done and make it your own. You say you are not an artist, but I know without knowing that your rendition of this recipe is different from any other’s.

I eat fast because I am hungry and smelling this meal for the past hour has aroused a sort of excitement in me. I make sure to taste every bite though because I know you will ask how I like it. I recognize your distinctive style in the meal. Pasta cooked just right, firmer than anyone else’s I’ve had. The vegetables are firmer too and fresh. You never use anything from a can. The flavors are strong but sophisticated, usually containing herbs like basil and thyme. There has been no salt added because you see no point and because you think it’s cheating.

You say you are not an artist, but I have learned that flavors are as diverse as any painter’s color palette, and your palette is unique to you.

After dinner I lay on the couch, too full to move and too satisfied to want to. You are happy and proud; I know you are from the look on you face. I praise you for the meal you have prepared while I wonder how you do it. And like any artist, if I ask you will shrug your shoulders and tell me nothing you have done is that special and that I could do it too if only I would try.

What you don’t know is that like any artist you have a passion and a drive that makes what you do possible.

What you don’t know is that eating your food is like looking at Antioch’s Venus de Milo, or Van Gogh’s Starry Night, or reading just about anything by Shakespeare. You create something that is beautiful, and more than any painting or piece of writing, you create something that nourishes me.

You are an artist, and I am very grateful for your work.

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