It’s interesting really, all the reasons I can come up with as to why we cook. If you look back into ancient times, people cooked to survive. Would you eat raw buffalo? How determined they were to create a fire by rubbing two sticks together and then making contraptions to create a spit to roast the catch of the day. Back in those days, cooking was a full time job just to get a single meal on the table (did they even have tables?). Surely, if I had similar circumstances, that is to have to live without my 101 kitchen gadgets (Yes, they call me “gadget girl”. In fact, I get kitchen appliances and such as birthday, holiday, even anniversary gifts from my husband each year and my girlfriend yells at him each time. But truly, I asked for these gifts…he wasn’t TRYING to keep me in the kitchen! I don’t do diamonds unless they come in a knife sharpener or something similar. But I digress.
Why else do we cook? Some say they cook to impress others. If you prepare a meal for your girlfriend or boyfriend during courtship, they are sure to be swooned by your culinary skills. I remember when I was dating my husband he would invite me over to his house for an authentic Chinese dinner. He would cut up all the vegetables perfectly, create his marinade, and toss everything in his newly purchased wok. How impressed I was! You don’t only get to a man through his stomach. He certainly got to me by demonstrating his cooking skills. He created my image of the perfect husband.
Here’s a basic reason why we cook, because we need to eat. Another is that we want to be sure we know what our families are actually eating and that they are eating healthy. Sure, we can go out a get a bite to eat at a local fast-food establishment or take the time to be served at a local restaurant, but do you really know what you are getting? Is it really nutritious and healthy? Obesity is becoming one of the major reasons for premature death. If cooking for ourselves to assure a healthier life isn’t reason enough to do it, then I don’t know what is.
Although there are many more reasons why people cook I would like to point out why I believe we “should” cook at home. Cooking is a great way to demonstrate how much we care about those we serve and the great amount of satisfaction it gives us when you know they appreciate your efforts. There are also numerous side benefits to cooking at home two of which are to eat healthier and to spend more time with the family around the dinner table to talk about the day’s events. Studies have shown that families who regularly cook and eat together have happier marriages, improved children’s health, and stronger family ties. Taking time to plan, shop and create a wellrounded, healthy meal is the greatest demonstration of love and devotion. Although I find the unending list of tasks associated with preparing daily meals somewhat daunting at times, I truly enjoy the process. And, after that first taste, if I hear, “Gee Mom this is really good!”…Wow, how great it feels to know the fruits (no pun intended) of my labor are appreciated and that my family is gaining profound benefits.
Positive feedback from those you cook for can provide you with a “can-do” cooking attitude. My grandmother was a constant source of feedback for my culinary creations when I was young which is how I think I got hooked on cooking for others. Once you begin to get that kind of feedback, it’s addictive. You start to challenge yourself by creating even more complex creations time and again. The more they like what you cook, the more you cook. It’s really hard not to want to hear positive comments on each and every dish, which then makes one want to try harder to please. You see where I’m going with this? And, if you know they are really eating well and enjoying these culinary moments, you know you did your best to thwart the bad diet demons.
If you don’t already cook or perhaps you only cook occasionally, you probably haven’t felt the amazing sense of gratification it brings. Today, many of us are time-starved and therefore the best we can do is grab the phone and order take out. But next time, before you think about ordering that mystery food, realize that many recipes today can be completed in 30 minutes or less and that they taste much better! There’s many a cookbook, magazine and TV show to prove it. Simply browse your favorite on-line bookstore or recipe website and I’m sure you will find a gazillion books with 30 minutes in the title.
No time for browsing you say? Okay, here’s a few of my favorite recipes that can be put on the table start to finish in no time. Whoever gets to taste these culinary creations you’ve prepared will no doubt feel special that you took the time (they don’t need to know it didn’t take all day) to create something wonderful for them to eat. I know that once you hear their “oohs and aaaahs”…you too will begin to get hooked on cooking. You will start to realize that cooking can be a pleasure as well as a necessary part of our day.