My favorite way to cook is with absolutely no plan or recipe. No roadmaps to follow, no measurements, no ingredients to match; I’m the artist.
I walk into the kitchen, the possibilities feel endless. Except – they are. They end with the fact that my kitchen is not a grocery store, and I’ve got to deal with what I have.
But that’s one of the best parts.
The restriction is a force pushing you into a creative direction. There is no room for choice overload. Your parameters are set, make something magical with them.
It’s one of the most routine, everyday, go-through-the-motions tasks. Yet, I find so much joy in it. Here’s why.
I love to cook because it’s the truest form of creativity.
Yes – my job, my blogs, they allow room for me to let my creative flag fly. But I’m being creative for someone else, for you, for the reader, the customer, the audience. Whether I realize it or not, there are restrictions. In the kitchen, there are no rules. It’s a different kind of creativity. It allows me to create without constraint. In my writing world, there are often pressures to be creative in a certain way. To put words together perfectly. To create an experience, and bring someone else into my world, through my words. That creativity isn’t always there. But in the kitchen, it’s effortless. The process flows out innately. It envelops me as soon as I hear the ignition of the first flame.
I love to cook because it’s challenging yet nurturing.
With each meal comes practice. Your first meal isn’t going to be a masterpiece. Neither will your 50th or your 100th. But each time you place yourself in front of that stove, you are growing. You are getting better. And you are training yourself to understand.
I love to cook because it’s the only place I am fearless.
Failure is going to happen. And it will teach you. But you musn’t be afraid or intimidated. A bad casserole isn’t the end of the world. There are always options in the kitchen. But one of them shouldn’t be to quit. The fearlessness one experiences after practice in the kitchen is unlike any other. Understanding that there are always options (i.e. you will not starve if this dinner turns out sour – there’s always that pizza place across the street) is imperative to overcoming barriers in cooking.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” -Julia Child
I love to cook because I simply love to create.
I love the feeling of turning something raw into a finished product. There is nothing like throwing ingredients together and forming the perfect equation to a wonderful marriage of flavors and textures.
I love to cook because it brings your senses to life.
The sound of onions crackling in olive oil. The smell of garlic enveloping your house with an unmistakable aroma that you wish you could bottle up. The touch of the knife as you chop, julienne, slice and mince. The sight and taste of your masterpiece after a meticulously orchestrated symphony of culinary creativity. So often we allow our senses to be taken for granted. Cooking reminds us that they should be recognized, and often.
I love to cook because it brings people together.
The power of food and cooking is invaluable. It connects generations, families, friends, colleagues, enemies. There is nothing more I love than to cook with my mother, the one who has taught me everything I know about cooking. I love to sit and watch my grandmother as she navigates the kitchen, creating dishes that her mother and mother-in-law taught her, and whose mothers I’m sure taught them.
I love to cook because I love to love.
I enjoy creating meals from the bottom of my heart for my loved ones to enjoy. There is no greater feeling than putting your heart and soul into a dish, and seeing, hearing, knowing, that the person you love is enjoying every bite.
I wanted to take the time to share with you the reason I love to cook because I believe that cooking can often be looked at as a negative thing. Of course, we all lead busy lives, and we often lack the time to put our hearts into a gourmet meal. Thus, cooking is seen as an obstacle. A pain in the ass. And trust me, I believe this to be true at times. When I’m utterly exhausted from a long day of work. But it’s not cooking that I hate during those times. It’s the energy necessary to do so. And always, always, when I get myself up to get it done, I feel so much better.
And as of late, I’d sort of become numb. I’d forgotten my love for cooking.
Until recently, when I was creating a recipe for a client. I realized that some of the ingredients I’d planned on using had gone bad, I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store, and I was on a deadline. So, I had to work around these obstacles and create a recipe out of what was in my kitchen (thanks to this, I’m usually pretty stocked). I put so much pressure on myself to make visions of perfection when making food for this blog or for clients. So, I immediately hit a slight panic mode.
But once I began sifting through our food supply, I calmed down. I realized – this is the best part. Here, I am creating. I am using my practice. I am not following a recipe I scribbled down, I am creating a recipe as I go, writing it down after the fact. The bliss I experience while cooking came rushing back to me. All of my everyday anxieties, my stress, my worries, flew out the window. I was in my zone; my favorite place.
As a food blogger, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘blogging game’. The analytical side of blogging (which, yes, it’s much more mathematical than you’d ever realize). We are constantly trying to understand digital trends, algorithms, what’s popular, etc etc. Sometimes I catch myself losing a bit of fuel because I’m cooking according to keywords or Pinterest trends. But really – I started this website because I really freakin’ like to cook, and I think I’m pretty good at it (after much trial and error), and I wanted to help others while hopefully inspiring them. I believe it’s important to come back down to earth every once in a while, and think about why you love something, and realize that there are enormous joys in the simplest of tasks.
Join the conversation:
Bloggers: have you ever lost a bit of control over your passions?
Bloggers/readers/chefs: why do YOU love to cook?