I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Ruhlman in 2008 and hearing him speak to our personal chef convention. I love his writing and his wife Donna’s photography is beautiful. He has many wonderful books, both cooking and otherwise and has a great blog. He is a big presence on Facebook and Twitter. Check him out. He wrote a post this week and challenged other bloggers to write about why we cook.
I loved cooking with my mom when I was young. I still do, though we don’t do it often anymore. I loved cooking for my family . I loved my Betty Crocker Junior Cookbook. I loved Home Ec class. ( I think it should still be offered!) I loved being in the 4H and doing cooking projects. I still love to tell the story of my first lesson in food styling. My 4H project one summer was to create a simple lunch and present it at the County Fair for judging. There were many practice runs of muffin and salad making. My lunch consisted of a large tomato stuffed with either tuna or chicken salad ( I don’t remember but I am guessing that Ohio in the early 60′s, it was tuna), a blueberry muffin,melon balls, and a glass of milk. We learned about presentation, that color is important. So, taking that lesson to heart, I colored my milk green and I think I flavored it mint! ( oh dear) I was so disappointed to only earn a red ribbon ( second place). Why ? I asked. Everything is colorful, different textures, what was wrong ? Well, everything was round! So, to this day, I vary my shapes on the plate. Still looking for that blue ribbon.
I cook professionally now for people in their homes. I love what I do. I love the blending of the art and the science of cooking. How you can put a list of ingredients together and it creates something entirely different and one is not quite sure what the ingredients are anymore. I love the creativity and experimentation that recipes call out for. Perhaps I will use this herb instead of that one. How would this taste with chicken instead of fish ? What if I added some wine to the sauce ? etc.
I love feeding people and caring for them in that way. I love nourishing peoples’ bodies with good nutrition and their souls with beautiful food. ( I now love doing that for myself after years of struggling with food and eating issues) And, yes, I love the smiles on peoples’ faces when they taste it. As a personal chef, not only am I providing my clients with tasty food, I am providing them with time. Time they wouldn’t have if they were struggling to get dinner on the table. I give them peace of mind, family time, less stress. I love that.
I love being part of the food world. I love learning about new food, talking about food, reading recipes. Lord, I have stacks and stacks of recipes I have cut out of magazines and will never in several lifetimes have the time to cook, yet I cut more out weekly or download them, share them on the internet.
I love being part of the political side of food, the “Real Food” movement. I have found so many colleagues through the internet who share the same passions I do for trying to live more gently on the earth and not polluting Her with non sustainable Big Agriculture. I love telling people about the benefits of eating eggs from pastured chickens, drinking raw milk, fermenting vegetables, not eating things with ingredients you cannot understand. You cannot really eat well this way if you don’t cook, or have someone to cook for you.
I love to cook. Plain and simple. I cook everyday, not every meal of course. I also do love to eat in a restaurant or with friends. But the best days are spent cooking.