Diary of Surrender, Week 5: Hard Lessons from Bad Hotel Sex and My Hatred for Cooking

I’m confronting my old pleasure-seeking ways

Adeline Dimond


Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

I’m writing a diary about my year of giving up, although I may give up on this too. Who knows? You can read about why I’m giving up here, and the previous week of saying fuck it here. (The term “week” is used loosely).

I used to cook. I used to love it. I made marinated flank steak with roasted vegetables, ribollita, stuffed cabbage, carrot dill soup, cauliflower and gorgonzola soup, spinach and artichoke soup when I needed a cleanse, Spanish eggplant, chicken curry, curried lentils, pork tinga, Spanish tortillas.

I made roasted chicken often and chicken stock with the bones. I made vegetable stew with homemade pesto, Chicken Marbella, shrimp poached in olive oil, rosemary pork tenderloin, pressed sandwiches, roasted broccoli and quinoa salad. Don’t get me started on all the pastas I made before I lost my mind and gave up carbs: pasta with vodka sauce; pasta with shredded chicken, walnuts and blue cheese (trust me); and my favorite, spicy eggplant pasta. I even developed my own recipe for sweet and spicy cabbage soup, and published it online.

On Sundays I would roast sheet pan after sheet pan of vegetables and eat them throughout the week, with an egg on top for breakfast or with a nice ribeye for dinner. I collected cookbooks and read recipes to fall asleep. Friends used to text to ask what I had made myself for dinner, because it was always strangely elaborate for one person. When boyfriends would break up with me, the common theme was food. “I’ll miss your cooking,” they all said in one way or another as they walked out the door.

But now I just can’t do it. Can’t cook. The only “cooking” I’ve done recently was a feeble attempt to reverse engineer a hearts of palm salad I had at Soho House, after I was forced to go there by my friend Valentina who is a professional hot person on Instagram. Chopping, reading recipes, sauteing, stirring, tasting used to be a joy and now feels like toiling in the fields. If you gave me a choice between cooking dinner and taking a transatlantic flight with no reading material, I’d take the flight. I don’t know why this has happened but it has definitely happened.