A pair of high-top sneakers placed side by side on a black background. The left sneaker is red with white laces, while the right sneaker is blue with white laces. Both shoes have a worn, vintage appearance with visible scuff marks on the toe caps and dirt on the rubber soles. The laces on both shoes are loosely tied, with the ends hanging down to the sides. The image has a striking contrast due to the dark background, making the colors of the sneakers stand out prominently

Cooking as Therapy


Months went by while I stayed in a hard bed in a cold room filled with stale farts. I was alone, and the world seemed unsafe.

One morning I picked up a book that had been sitting on my desk for over a year. It was Hiroko Shimbo’s The Japanese Kitchen: 250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit. I cooked through that book much like Julie Powell from Julie and Julia (sans blog) and learned everything I could about Japanese culinary techniques, equipment, and ingredients.

a cover of the book "The Japanese Kitchen" by Hiroko Shimbo. The top portion of the cover features the text "250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit" on a black background, with a small image of tempura shrimp in a bowl. Below this, the title "The Japanese Kitchen" is written in large red letters, followed by the author's name "Hiroko Shimbo" in smaller black letters. A foreword by Ming Tsai is mentioned at the bottom of the cover. The main part of the cover shows a beautifully plated dish of sushi, garnished with pink pickled ginger and a piece of green wasabi on a rectangular plate. Red chopsticks are placed next to the sushi. The overall design is elegant and appetizing, highlighting traditional Japanese cuisine.

I made everything from chicken teriyaki to ramen from scratch. It was an experience that I found wholly therapeutic. Much like my discovery in Mr. Wright’s class, I felt alive, as if I had unlocked a new calling.

I spent some time cooking for friends and family and fell in love with how food could bring us all together. We all have our own food memories. My best ones are those when I cooked for someone and made their day just a bit brighter.

It made me feel brighter as well. And, in time, I was ready to go back to school.

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