I've been a renewed bachelor for about two weeks now. I dropped my wife off at the airport on the morning of February 3rd. She's training for her new career, which is very exciting for both of us. She'll be gone for six months.
Six months is a long time.
I've decided that a few things will fill up my time:
Cooking is new; running is not. I refer to myself as a runner. I'm no longer on the outside of that world looking in; in fact, when I compete in a race, I'm now one of the fast ones. That's a good feeling. I don't refer to myself as a cook, however. Before I was married, I frequently made meals out of peanut butter. Not PB&J sandwiches, either. Peanut butter and a spoon. My 'go-to' meal - when I wanted to get serious or impress someone - was pineapple chicken. This consisted of frozen chicken breasts and canned pineapple tidbits in a frying pan. If one of my roommates had some teriyaki, I'd throw that in. I don't remember what I served it with. Rice? Pasta? Possibly neither; I was terrified of carbohydrates at the time. Since I met my wife, she's looked after all the cooking.
Over the past two weeks I've surprised myself a bit. I completed my most ambitious training cycle and absolutely crushed my personal record in the half marathon. I cut my previous time by eight minutes. I'm thrilled. Equally surprising is the success I've had in the kitchen. Armed with a select few blogs (The Paupered Chef and smitten kitchen) and books (How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman and Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito) I've tackled a few dishes I never would have considered if I wasn't on my own. I've made marinara sauce from scratch, polenta, lentil bolognese, some delicious hash browns, eggs in purgatory, prune paella, hazelnut cinnamon chip biscotti, chick pea salad, millionaire's shortbread, and even some wonderful crusty bread.
I plan on keeping this up. I miss my wife terribly, and the cooking has really helped to keep my mind occupied. I've also found that it's just really enjoyable to cook and see everything come together. I don't get to cook every night - cooking for one leaves a lot of leftovers - but I find myself looking forward to the nights when I do get to whip something up.
For at least the next six months or so I plan on detailing my culinary and athletic triumphs and failures. I hope it's interesting. If it is, I'll keep doing it.