Why I Cook…

 

Why I Cook…I just saw this in an ad for Swanson Cooking Stock in the October, 2013 issue of Sunset magazine.  They gave 8 reasons why we might cook, and several of them resonate with me.  And they gave rise to my most important reason, being that it keeps me healthy.

  • The healthiest food is the food I make, where I get to choose the ingredients, where I skip the processed stuff and choose to use real food.  Real food supports body function, restores my energy, keeps me healthy.  I’m turning 70 years old this fall, and real food keeps me young and interested in life and learning, and gives me the energy to pursue my interests, hobbies, and my work.
  • Because my kitchen is my Sanctuary, my safe place where I feel competent and sure.  I can make the equipment and ingredients do what I want them to do.  I trust myself in the kitchen, feel confident that I can make something that tastes good and that is actually good for me.  Cooking puts me in touch with my soul, the interior and authentic me.  And cooking puts me smack dab into the present moment, in touch with my senses of smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing.  My kitchen is a place of learning and exploring, of excitement and experimenting and achieving new skills, and it’s a place of great fun.
  • To feed my creativity.  We are all creative beings, and that creativity seeks expression.  I believe that any creative pursuit feeds the creative dynamic within me, helps make new connections inside my brain, helps me find solutions to problems and challenges in exciting ways.  So creative expression in the kitchen nourishes creativity expressed in my painting, in my pottery making, in my garden, in my problem solving at home and at work.
  • Because a new ingredient or a new tool is like a new toy!  I love discovering new uses for even common ingredients, some new way to use oranges or potatoes, for instance, a new way to combine flavors in satisfying ways.  Adding a new ingredient, one that I’m not familiar with or haven’t used before, adds new dimension to even the everyday foods that we often tire of when we overuse them.  So adding chestnuts in the fall, a new variety of winter squash, a new kind of cheese and learning what to combine it with for best flavor balance is like having a new toy.  I like to use sweet flavors such as fruits in a new savory dish, or a savory ingredient in a dessert.  It keeps me engaged with the sensory pleasures of good food and good eating.  A new tool in the kitchen serves the same function, helps me to be creative in the ways I present familiar foods and ingredients.  My mandoline slicer or Spiral Slicer come to mind, that send me in new directions for appetizing ways to present vegetables and fruits, anything that can be sliced.
  • To show my love.  Whenever we choose to spend our time creating something to share with family and friends, we show our love.  It’s a gift we give to those we care about.