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Wednesday, 7:24Pm

Wednesday, 7:24 PM.

I kicked my front door shut with a satisfying slam, a full grocery bag in my hand. My perfect day at work at the perfect job was less than perfect – my boss had expressed doubt in my ability to survive in this position. And that had a deeper effect on my psyche than I’d like.

I really would love to collapse on the floor and cry, to let it all out. I ached for the touch of my lover, for him to hold me in his strong, tattooed arms and his soft, gentle kisses. I sighed - that was not in the cards tonight.

So I decided to be good to myself instead.

The funny thing about trying to survive in the men’s world of business as a woman was that I began to think like a man. Girls in my shoes, I’d imagine, crave Hagen-Daze and Oreos. I was craving a steak. Most girls would have poured themselves a glass of wine, while I dug out a bottle of bourbon from my freezer, poured myself a generous shot in a glass with ice and topped it off with a dash of cola.

I turned my burner on to high and put an empty pan on top. As it heated, I sorted out the rest of my groceries, removing three packages from the bag. One of Prosciutto – that salty-sweet Italian ham sliced paper-thin. Another of peppery Arugula, and a third, my steak – a well marbled rib eye.

This is not a meal for the faint of heart, I thought to myself as I ripped into the ham and sipped my drink. There was something so wrong about this cocktail and cured meat pairing in its theory, but I was beyond caring at this point. I wanted bourbon and I wanted meat. I was denying myself nothing tonight.

I had turned my stereo on at some point, the sensual, silky voice of Sade had me swaying while the acoustic charm of Serena Ryder and Matt Andersen had me singing along. I felt better: I was in control of this self- indulgent evening, and I could do this effortlessly.

My pan shimmered with the heat and into it went a knob of butter and a drop of oil. As those melded, I snipped a sprig of rosemary, crushed three cloves of garlic with the flat of my knife. I added those to the pan - a fragrant fog formed and I inhaled in deeply. I added the steak to the pan and it hissed and sputtered, turning a beautiful brown gold on one side as I sipped away at my drink again, contemplating on just how badly I really felt.

I flipped the steak, and slid the whole pan off the heat and into the hot, waiting oven, to allow the steak to finish cooking in a more gentle heat. I then turned my attention to the arugula. That sharp, peppery bite is a perfect foil for the buttery, fragrant steak. I dressed the leaves in my best olive oil and added a sprinkle of salt and grinding of pepper. I needed an acid, but what? I pondered that question as I stared quizzically into my fridge, and answered my own question as I pulled out a jar with intensely coloured contents.

In my moments of feeling like a domestic goddess, several weeks back, I had pickled roasted beets, melding their mellow sweetness with the sharp bite of white vinegar. I dropped several slices of the dark violet pickles and tossed several tablespoons of the liquid with the arugula. I plucked a leaf out of the dressing with my fingers and brought it to my lips, staining my fingers a lovely shade of pinky-violet.

Perfect.

I pulled my steak from the oven carefully and let it rest in the pan while I attended the little details – putting the salad on the plate and pouring a second drink. The final crowning glory, I removed the glorious steak from the pan and onto the salad and poured all the juices on top.

I sighed in satisfaction and I took everything to my kitchen table and dug in with a primal hunger. These solitary dinners serves as a reminder that I know what I want and I’m perfectly capable. Bad day at work be damned – tomorrow is a new day, and I can only learn from my mistakes, and I will emerge from this feeling better about myself.

I didn’t learn to cook this way without making a few mistakes along the way, so why would my life, my job, be any different?

Curled up at the dinner table with a good book – something about gothic cathedrals- and all too soon, I was done. The music has changed to something with a playful beat.

Clearing my table and returning to the kitchen, I smiled to myself. I’m realizing no matter how hard tough business makes me, I am a girl after all. I walk over to the freezer, scoop myself two scoops of cherry-chocolate chip ice cream and stick a few oreos in the bowl for good measure.

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