Why I Love to Cook

13

I made shrimp tacos tonight. Yes, they were delicious.  While I was standing there, building the tacos for the family, I was thinking about a simple question:

Why do I love cooking so much? I am well aware that not everyone feels the same way. Some people detest cooking, some even refuse to do it. Not me.

Here are some ideas why I am a fan:

1) It is Delicious

It is more than obvious that I am a man who likes to eat. In fact, I am an overachiever in this department. I do know some people who just don’t care about food. It is not important to them – even to the point of considering it a nuisance. Personally, I cannot get my head around that concept.

I feel that yummy food is a great gift God has given us to enjoy here in mortality. He has done an amazing job making delicious things for our enjoyment. Some things He made (beets) need more help.

2) It is Service

Sure, I could never cook a meal and still eat delicious food every meal, because my EC is a terrific cook. Instead, I choose to split that duty with her. I figure that is a way that I can bless her life and take a small task off her plate.

I also like the idea of providing for my family – not just in the “Bring home the bacon” mindset, but I also like to make food for them. To me, it is an expression of love that taps into our most core needs. I find great satisfaction making something that they love, because I love them and want to give them enjoyment. Making it runs a little deeper than bringing home Panda. (Last night.)

3) It is Creative

I like to make new stuff. I like to invent. We are encouraged to do so. President Uchtdorf said this:

“The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.” (link)

And food.

I would suggest that a plate of grilled swordfish, asparagus and linguini with a lemon basil Alfredo sauce counts as “creating” something. (last Sunday’s dinner.)

Some of our family favorite recipes are things we invent. Sure, it is fun to be able to make restaurant-quality ribs or grill a steak like a boss, but it is also fun to make something completely new and different.

One nice thing about cooking as a hobby or as a creative process is that you don’t have to head to Hobby Lobby and buy a bunch of fancy new equipment and supplies.

4) It is Quick

Each meal cooked is a transitory thing. You spend some time on it, then when it is over, it is over. Some creative hobbies consist of labors that last for days, months and years. Some projects are never actually finished – I have a lot of writer friends who are nodding right now.

When a meal is done, it is done. Moving on.

This limited time investment is appealing to me because life is busy and I have a terrible attention span. I can experiment and try to do something new, and know the results immediately. Sometimes it is successful, sometimes I fail gloriously – but I don’t have to wait for the results.

This mindset might also have something to do with my impatience or a reluctance to embrace huge projects – which also explains why I write blog posts instead of epic novels.

(Yes, there is a natural irritation that something that can take 6 hours to cook can be consumed in 15 minutes, but that is the price you pay for making good stuff.)

5) It is Bonding

Cooking with someone is a very convivial. There is time for conversation, laughter, and the occasional flick with a dishtowel. I think this process also taps into our core in that we are working together to provide nourishment for ourselves and others.

My youngest is a bit of a foodie, and we cook together a lot. At 15 he can probably hold his own on teenage “Chopped.” It is fun to spend time with him, but also fun to see him flex his creativity and learn to enjoy new things.

6) It is a Skill

Not only is cooking a skill, it is a skill that can be developed. There is no limit to what you can learn. One of the reasons it is such a great venue to learn is as I mentioned before – you make a meal, then move on. Fini!

If you cook a lot, you automatically get better and better at it. There are so many tricks and techniques that can enhance what you are doing, and share the goodness with others. With YouTube and a million recipe sites online, there are infinite things to learn and to try.

For example: The shrimp tacos tonight? I recently learned (courtesy of the internet) that if you brine the shrimp in salt and baking soda before you cook them, they will stay firm and juicy, instead of drying out and getting tough.  Who knew???

While it is not creative per se, learning how to mimic restaurant recipes can save a bundle as well.

 

There is my little soapbox about why I like to cook. I’m sure that there are plenty of you that think I am barking mad, but that is okay by me. I figure if you don’t love to cook, you are missing out.

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree. I love to try new recipes. My husband is not so quick to embrace new things. I use the people I work with as guinea pigs. It is a win win. I get to try new recipes and I have been lucky and they loved the things I have made. I wouldn’t make it here at home because I can’t/won’t eat it all by myself:)

  2. So glad you help out with the cooking. It is a real gift to your family. Cooking is a very creative thing to do, and it does put lots of love into the meal.

  3. To add to #4, the transitory aspect, I like the fact that I don’t have to find a place to display what I create in the kitchen (and then dust and clean around it). Create, appreciate, move on.

  4. We are full fledged “empty nesters” since our baby went in his mission a couple years ago. Between graduations, new grand children & traveling for work, my EC and I will not be in our home together until the end of July….. and this started mid-may! (Although we are together now, just in a hotel after eating panda)
    After raising a half dozen FOML who each has a different palate we have learned a few things.
    1) it is much harder to re-learn to cook for 2 than it was 30 years ago when we devised a months worth of meals from Campbell’s soup and ramen. We usually have 5 days worth of left overs every Sunday that the kids don’t visit
    2) when there are only 2, you can experiment even more without worrying about throwing too much away then spending a small fortune on fast food.

    I am sooooo looking forward to cooking with my EC again. As I type this, I recall a comment that my mother once made after watching us make thanksgiving dinner several years ago. It was like watching a ballet as my EC & I “danced” in the kitchen in anticipation of feeding 25 family & friends.

  5. Right there with you on the beets! I agree that Heavenly Father has made all these incredible things for our enjoyment He’s awesome!! Thanks for another great post.

  6. Amen to all you shared. My feeling is that FOOD IS LOVE. Nourishing & delighting people you love is primal. Even in difficult times – what do we do when someone gets a difficult diagnosis, has a bad day or a tragedy? I cannot make everything better, but I can feed them! 😊

  7. My husband also cooks as a hobby, and it’s one we both enjoy. We’ve tried things I never would have thought to try, and that’s a good thing. We can not only learn new cooking skills, but we can also learn more about each other as we work together in the kitchen. We’re coming up on our 35th anniversary, and just a couple of weeks ago I realized something new.

    As he was working to put a special Mother’s Day dinner on the table he mentioned that that type of cooking was really hard for him. The steaks took longer than he expected to cook, and so the mashed potatoes weren’t as hot as he wanted. He said coordinating everything to be done at the same time was really difficult, but he did it, refused to let me help, and everything was delicious. However, I was reminded that he likes to concentrate on one thing at a time. He’s a finisher, something I struggle with; he starts something and then finishes it before moving on to the next thing. This is the first Mother’s Day we’ve had without a child around to help him, so I’ve never really noticed it before. Thinking back, although he does cook or bake regularly, it’s always just one thing at a time. Realizing that helps me understand him and appreciate him even more.

    Anyway, this is way too long (because I’m NOT a good writer), but I wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts. And also thanks for the idea for shrimp tacos for dinner! I had just taken some shrimp out of the freezer for dinner and was deciding what to do with it. Now I know!

  8. After 49 years of cooking for my hubby I’m ready to retire and would love it if he would take up the challenge but alas it is never going to happen….sigh. Thanks for setting such a great example for your children especially the male ones, I hope they want to be just like you…at least in the cooking hobby department.

  9. I absolutely love my garden fresh beets! Nothing quite like them. I’ve discovered so many different yummy ways to prepare them. You’ll have to come visit at harvest time so I can convert you. I say this as I also know they can flare up my calcium oxalate kidney stones. I just can’t resist them. But, canned beets are not my favorite.

  10. I’m still focused on the swordfish and linguini with lemon basil Alfredo sauce…and asparagus! That was quite an attention-getter for me!! Mmmmm-hmmmm! After almost 45 years of marriage (also empty nesters here) and doing solo in the kitchen for 95% of it, the husband has taken up baking bread! He uses a bread machine but that’s fine with me…and one loaf lasts us 5 or 6 days…he’s been trying all sorts of combinations and I love coming home from work to that amazing fragrance. (He’s retired, I’m not) Yep, food is a wonderful thing and homemade food is even more wonderful. Cook on, dude!

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