A friend offered to help me with the final canning of my 3-Day Apricot Jam last week. I didn't need the help--it was only a few jars after all-- but he really seemed to want to come over and he's good company, so I said ok.
And while I could have done it alone, I'm sure glad I didn't because company in the kitchen, even my tiny one, is a really wonderful thing.
Because my kitchen is small, I often cook alone or at best with one other person stepping in here and there. And while there is a simple, single-minded efficiency to that, truth is it can become a little too insular, a little too controlling. When I say yes to an offer for help, someone else's ideas and energy are brought into the mix. It takes me out of my own head which is a big relief and, frankly, a lot more interesting.
I've been watching my tendency to be too self-suffcient, not asking for help when needed or refusing help when it's offered. What's that all about? A friend and I recently drove downtown to check out a new fried chicken spot and got a parking ticket as a result. She offered to help pay and I refused, for a lot of reasons that seemed good at the time. But when I got home, I had second thoughts. We both participated in the event, I cannot afford the ticket, she offered...
So this summer I'm going to try to say yes more often. Maybe I'll cram three eager helpers in my kitchen, let my guests do the dishes or allow a friend pay for a dinner. Saying yes is accepting an offer to be more intimate, allowing someone into my life in a deeper way. A little risky, yes, but ultimately the way to go. In the end, what will be more important: efficiency or intimacy? Perfection or relationships? Having it my way or the messy, complex, sweet mash-up of friendship?
Related: Do You Like Cooking by Yourself or with Others?
(Image: Dana Velden)