When I first thought of love, a companion, a partner in crime, I all but barfed out every part of me onto a blank canvas. I created a female version of myself–just better looking. It was like Weird Science in the physical creation aspect, but more of a transfer of my own personal tastes at the core. Surviving through a handful of doomed relationships with my other hotter self, I slowly–as we all eventually do–learned that harmony or compatibility is not the bass and guitar droning out the same note. Harmony is by definition, different notes played at the same time that create something else–a new thing altogether. A third element. A secondary color. Or kinda like how if you mix fresh mint with cilantro, you get a pungent, almost musky flavor that you’d never guess was created from the two. That’s the Indian green sauce you get with samosas, and it took me a while to figure out where that unique flavor was coming from.
In relationships that have long gone, there are always two things I reflect upon after the heart dander settles. Warning signs that I didn’t notice at the time, and god how I wish I had. They could’ve saved me years, wrinkles, grey hairs-thick and wiry like pubes.
The first is listening to music. I noticed that if I didn’t listen to much music whilst in the relationship, it only applied to the really bad ones. One of the doomed. It’s almost as if I subconsciously didn’t want to apply any songs to the memories, since music is a monster when it comes to nostalgic recall. The second and most important to me, is cooking. Now, I’m not saying that two people need to cook together, or even like cooking per say. I’m talking about how two people work together in a space. A space that gets filled with ingredients, jobs to be done, anticipation of the finish, and most of the time a little trepidation of the results as well. Cooking is a present moment event. Try as we may to linger in our thoughts, we are soon thrown back into the now; forced to participate and to watch the clock. When I think of those hairy, nasty heart-breaker relationships, I can see that we almost never worked together in the kitchen. There was my time in the kitchen, and it was off-limits. And there was her time, with the same rules applied. While always appreciated from both sides when ready, the food-making was very much a solo operation. And a limitation. And too quiet.
Common says that if someone can love you at your lowest or most challenged, then that person is definitely a keeper. Cooking can often bring out the honestly challenged in people. Or the worst. Sometimes. You truly see how a person deals with stress, instructions and organization. And with any new recipe, there could be a degree of cursing and getting frazzled.
When we’re young we do much to impress our partners, only to eventually fade back into our normal true colors scheme. It’s almost always a disappointment. When we mature, give way less fucks, and learn more about ourselves, we go a little more low-ball on the whole prince and princess horse and buggy show. We show ourselves as we are, without all the awesome adjectives.
We all oughta look for own kind of shared experience in which we gel well with our significant others. Could be anything, really. With anyone you dig. Good cooking mojo is lovers, family and friends. And I do think cooking is a good indicator of healthy or not so healthy compatibility. Something to pay attention to.
I guess a good team just does what needs to be done. There are no good or bad jobs in the kitchen, since it all has to be done anyway. You flow through even the most cramped space with ease, perhaps brushing lightly against each other, as you move the peeled potatoes to the chopping block. Maybe even cop a feel. A silent smile as you’re both busy packing pierogies.
Working this way, the food is always good. It’s not yours, not your partner’s; it’s a shared creation. Sometimes the dishes that appear are worlds apart, but connected through a deep and simple respect and understanding. And a trust; that even though the future of the night’s meal is still in the oven, what’s coming out will be a canvas rich of color and smell. A balance of sweet and practical . An interesting article in The Guardian reinforced a lot of my personal thoughts on the matter. As did this one in Elite Daily.
Harmony…Two wholly separate elements that create a perfect third. It’s not loving the same things, for there would be little to discuss or share. It’s about ever-expanding beyond our own understanding and current size. It’s not pretty, and it sure as fuck hurts as all hell. Ask Kirk Cameron. But with two complimentary notes (or humans) it’s almost always well worth it.
Harmony doesn’t always come from nice places. It usually sings out its choral glads from the chaos of sloughing away old skin. Guitars strings were flayed by the Scythe of Rock. It grew out of worse cow shit to be a magic mushroom. Liquid stone eruption of incinerating lava creates new fertile land. Things get torched, and towns fall. But what emerges is a tiny bright green baby plant, growing in tiny cracks on the freeway.