Overcoming Cooking Fears From My Childhood
How most fears are just not real
Opening a can of spam has always been my biggest fear. I felt like if I opened it, the aluminum lid would slice my fingers open. Then my fingers would never stop bleeding, I’d need to go to the hospital, and I’d have a disfigured hand without fingers for the rest of my life.
That is what my mother always instilled in me when I was growing up. Even though I wanted to learn how to cook as a pastime when I was a kid, my mother always threatened that doing certain actions would endanger my life. Opening a can of spam will slice my fingers away. Turning on the stove will set my apartment on fire. Using the knife will chop my hand.
My mother used extreme, unrealistic, unreal fears to prevent me from cooking, but that only meant that I was living in an illusion. None of those fears are real, but I started to fear nearly everything due to her exaggerated lies. Now, I am starting to peel away at these false truths instilled in me since I was a kid.
I have started to realize that there is no reason to fear most things. Think of it this way. Most products are made with the intention of keeping the item safe from children. Designers, creators, and businesses know that if they make a certain product, it may get in the hands of children. Of course they’ll design the product with children in mind. They are not trying to kill a child and get sued! So on what basis is it accurate to think that opening a can of spam will slice my hands away? From what I have seen in different types of cans, the most damage the lid can do is give me a little cut. By the time I feel the cut, I’d learn to say, “OW!” and pull my hand away, right? I can’t get my whole hand sliced apart from opening a can.
Not only is there nothing to fear, most things in the kitchen are easy to do. I started to realize how easy it is to use a knife and use the stove. There are instructions everywhere online to teach me how to do something. There are even different cooking tools for different purposes. There are specific devices that peel apples and even cut apples for you! Where can the danger lie? Putting our hands in the device as if they’re apples? My mom should know better than to scare an adult from doing something when the logic behind it is only suitable for kids who are just learning about the world!
I also completely destroyed my mother’s everlasting faulty thinking that cooking is difficult. She always tells me, “Cooking this will take all day! You have to tend to it all day!” and the list of things to be done is highly dramatized and exaggerated. (Funny thing is that my mother has been cooking the hard and extremely long way her whole life, so her “exaggerated, dramatized lies” are really real for her.) I have been able to cook with 4 stovetops on at the same time. I have been able to cook copycat dishes like Chinese takeout in less than 2 hours of time. It is all so easy that I realized how false most of the things my mother has taught me as I was growing up are. Nothing in the kitchen is as difficult and dangerous as my mother has always made it to be.
As I overcome these cooking fears, I am starting to see that most fears just aren’t real. It might be constructed to be real by decades and even generations of old wives tales, horror stories, experiences, cultural beliefs, and the list goes on, which makes the fear seem real. In reality though, a fear is only presented as a huge scary monster when it might just be a tiny little ant. Most fears are just that - tiny little ants.