by Luckie Lovette
When I was nine, I scorched myself when flipping French fries: bubbling grease splattered onto my face. LESSON LEARNED: never stand close to hot grease.
I used to cook with my mom, but now the tables are turned and I’m the only person who cooks in my household. My menu is growing as I take this responsibility seriously, cooking for my aunty and brothers: I’ve graduated from old standbys like Mac and cheese on to more gourmet teriyaki chicken, vegetable medleys, baked chicken and meatloaf.
It’s not what you’d expect of a high school senior, who should be focused on homecoming, senior ditch day and prom. Not many MALE students at McClymonds become master chefs; we don’t even have a barbecue club like at Berkeley High and at Bishop O’Dowd. Only 16 percent of high school males know how to cook.
The first time I cooked something was when I was 6 years and dreamed of IHop, so what did I make: big golden fluffy pancake. Not messy, sticky or runny. Unlike other kids, I succeeded the first time around. My future was sealed.
I began paying close attention to what my grandmother would whip up: soul foul, fried chicken, greens, potato salad, hot water cornbread, roast beef, fried fish, and macaroni salad. Grandma Gina inspired me to take risks, get dirty. She would chop celery, onion and bell peppers and throw them into the meat, with me by her side, staring.
What I like most about cooking is company, community. Sitting down at the table, I share (jokes, ideas, and stories) and food with my family and chew over the day. The meal is what binds us together: even the cats get involved, nibbling on leftovers. And they are clever – they smell and hear me cutting onions and gather around, because they know that meat is coming next.
I’m not very talented in working with my hands so this gives me an outlet for that, because I don’t stress when cooking, my main focus is to listen to the sizzle, to inhale the garlic.
I love good food but that’s not why I cook. Cooking is my artistic expression. Even though I cook for the entire time I’m at home, I feel recharged at the end.