Why Aerin is a Chef

Afraid, but doing it anyway

Aerin is a chef because I have no knife skills.

Pitting an avocado: 4 stitches. Chunking a block of cheddar: 2 stitches. Slicing lettuce: 4 stitches, plus the ignominy of having the ER doc offer to let your former student (shadowing said physician) stitch the wound (true story). And that doesn't count the slashes, gashes, and puncture wounds that didn't require a trip to the ER. Aerin is imbued with the kitchen skills that I sadly lack, not having any actual training myself.

However, never let it be said that I let the spectre of exposed bone (my own) stop me from putting together a good meal.

Aerin loves to cook because I love to cook.

I'm pretty good; my one and only semi-super power is the ability to taste and replicate. I can pretty accurately reproduce at home almost any dish, if I get a good taste of it. I'm also pretty decent at tasting something in my head, which makes me rubbish at following recipes because I'm usually pretty sure they're wrong. Aerin is definitely not afflicted with this hubris. She's got a sophisticated palate, and the patience to testbed recipes until they meet her expectations.

Chef's Breakfast Special

Chef's Breakfast Special

Chef-made pizza

Chef's Choice Pizza

Aerin is a chef because food is not the enemy.

This is a hard thing for me, and I wrestle with it pretty much constantly. Because when you inhabit a body that society tells you is wrong, and that you are weak and worthless if you can't change your body into something right, well, that's gonna mess with your head. Food feels like the enemy, and it's not. I want Aerin to experience joy in savoring something delicious, not anxiety and guilt over every mouthful. It's gonna take her some time to get used to.

Aerin cooks to show her love.

It's a common theme: food is love. But let's unpack that a bit, shall we? Being served an unappetizing plate of food is a statement, but it depends on who set that plate in front of you. If you're in an all-night truck stop off the interstate at 3AM, you don't take it personally. It wasn't meant personally. But from someone you love, a plate of badly prepared food can feel like hostility, resentment, even rejection. Aerin shows you how much she values you with every dish she prepares.

Not every meal in my house would qualify for a Michelin star. Sometimes work days are long, patience is short, and pizza is delivered. I'm fortunate that my husband retains the ability to eat like a teenager and regards leftover pizza as a profound expression of love.

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