I've always been a pretty good cook. I've always enjoyed baking because it's more of an exact science than cooking meals. In baking, you can rarely fiddle with the recipe or the process and expect good results. You get a lot more wiggle room when you are cooking meals.
Despite the fact that I consider myself mostly right brained creative, I can be quite inflexible and ummmmm...neurotic about some things, including cooking. Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing, maybe it's just a lack of confidence, but I feel kind of well...guilty...if I stray too far from The Recipe - in both literal and figurative senses.
My mTBI changed all that. I can't follow a recipe to save my life. I've had to let go of all my rigidity around having food all ready at the same time, or heaven forbid, having it taste crappy. Thanksgiving 2011 (just a month after my mTBI) is a good example. Let's just say it was not my best meal ever. And let's just say, I didn't give a hoot! For the first time ever, I didn't care one bit about how awful or poorly timed it was.
Fast forward to March 2012. I've been at home a lot. So I cook more. I can't follow recipes well no matter how many times I read them over and "think" I understand them. And I haven't had a panic attack for almost six months - a HUGE step for me. I believe I don't have the ability to panic these days because I don't have the ability to multitask and I am much better able to stay in the moment. This has turned me from "pretty good cook" to "phenomenal cook". It's just me, my imagination, whatever spices feel right, and NO JUDGMENT.
I am free of my inner cook's anxiety and guilt. I am free to make crappy food. But I don't. Well, not usually.