I’ve been uncomfortable in the kitchen for a long time, specifically with meal prep and execution. I recently realized that’s not owed just to feeling like it’s a chore, but that I also have a bit of residual anxiety from the past.

It’s because I spent over a decade making meals for my abuser, who always complained and criticized. He was cantankerous to rattle me, picky to spite my efforts. You can’t become confident in the kitchen with that going on.

It still makes me nervous to have people over and serve them something I’ve made. That’s how conditioning works, even years later, post-abuse, even when you’ve healed in so many ways. You can’t just “let it go.”

I can’t be alone in this, given the statistics of abuse, and that so many of our stories are parallel—even if the abuse looks different. This is why I’ve partnered with A Touch of Yum. Blog founder and enthusiastic home cook, Mary, says, “Cooking shouldn’t be difficult.” However it can be exactly that for survivors who never had the chance to find their foundation in the kitchen.

Says Mary, “If you don’t know where to start, it can be daunting.” So, she teaches the basics. If we can learn what to do and why, kitchen confidence will follow.

It also matters, too, who we’re welcoming into our home. It’s as much learning that our true friends and family would never criticize our efforts, and are generally going to be happy with any meal made for them. Once we know we’ve got the approach and presentation down, thanks to Mary’s advice and expertise, we can trust those we sit down to eat with are content just to have us sitting across the table from them. That’s when we’ll be able to let go of the anxiety and embrace the joy of cooking.

Sound reasonable? Go visit Mary’s blog by clicking the image or link above. Tell her I sent you.