Cooking for the Fun of It!
The Joy of Cooking... Or Not!
Can you smell the smell…garlic and ginger sautéing in olive oil, fresh basil from the garden, marinara simmering on the stove top, homemade bread baking in the oven?
As someone who enjoys cooking, these are some of my favorite smells coming out of the kitchen. Cooking for JUST me is not really an enjoyable experience, but give me a dinner party or a holiday family get together and I get serious about planning that special meal. Of course my kitchen is filled with cooking magazines, cookbooks, and volumes of recipes collected over the years. Even so, I find myself online looking for recipes when that special meal demands my best performance.
Cooking is a lot of work, plain and simple…. well it is for me, for I like gourmet cooking. Some of the people I prepare special meals for would be fine with a fried chicken and mashed potatoes, but others are up for new and exciting taste treats and for those people, I go the extra mile to prepare dishes they would never get in their day to day lives. Vegetables like parsnips, rutabagas, bok choy and fennel, or cornichons and kumquats are just a few taste treats my family has been exposed to when they dine with me (remember, we are from the south).
I remember one Thanksgiving I served a watercress and arugula salad. With one short, but decisive glance, my brother announced; Sheila, there is not one discernible green in this whole salad. Sigh…..why bother, I ask myself at times…then I rally and say BECAUSE… because expanding ones pallet is a good thing. Plus, I love to look through recipes, figure out the grocery list, plan the cooking schedule, put on some good music, pour a glass of wine and get down to it! With my chef’s apron, cutting boards, sharp knives and food processor, I become Julia Childs of the south. No, not Paula Dean…my cooking is healthy, and albeit foreign to some who experience it for the first time, I have yet to disappoint.
Yes, the kind of cooking I enjoy is complicated, time consuming and labor intensive, but over time, I have come to understand the art of it. Reading a recipe and knowing what to add or change to make it even better, or knowing what foods complement each other and how to choose foods that have a pleasing visual appeal as well as great taste, are just some of the joyous challenges I look forward to when planning a meal for others.
One of my favorite movies is “Julie and Julia”. I too have come to love Julia Childs and after the movie, I loved Julie as well. Her love for cooking, awesome respect for Julia Childs, and beautifully realistic nature and attitude towards cooking, made the movie a joy to watch.
So for those of you, who could care less about cooking or find it a chore, I would suggest finding a friend like me and allowing them to treat you to a meal prepared especially with you in mind. You will come away with a full belly and a better attitude. This much I know for sure! Bon Appetit!!!