Food is something I love to share. I love to talk about food. I love to make food and watch people eat what I have made. And I wholeheartedly believe that if we as a society paid more attention to our food, where it comes from and how it is made, then we would have fewer of the many problems that exist in our modern life.
Junk food, fast food, processed cheese food products. What? What are we doing? Why, when it comes to one of the most fundamental human needs, are we so willing to speed up the process? How can we be trusted to make complicated decisions about our lives if we starve our brains by offering up only cheaply made and highly processed food products? We’ve compromised quality for quantity and our national waistline shows it. Food should be relished and cherished, not boxed up and tossed through a window. This is where cooking comes in. Cooking takes food back from the cogs of industry. Cooking affords me control when it seems the world has gone haywire. Cooking calms me because I know that what I do, I do for the good of my being.
Cooking is fun. It is rewarding and, when successful, delicious! Cooking is challenging and frustrating. My mom once said that she never really learned to swear until she learned to knit. Well, I learned how to pepper my language as well as my dishes in the kitchen. Like language, the best cuisine is colorful and full of flavor. But the more I cook, the fewer errors I make and the greater my horizons become. I can visit foreign countries while never leaving my home. A nation’s food is the outpouring of its collective soul. As an adventurous cook, I temporarily mingle with the people of other lands. And, as always, with practice comes confidence.
Now for a few words of advice:
One: If a dish fails, throw it out and go get take out! Do not mourn the loss; just promise yourself that you won’t do it again. Everyone makes bad dishes from time to time. Beating yourself up because you failed once only keeps you from trying again. But do try the dish again while you still remember your mistake and take steps to avoid making it again. I did this just the other day and I have been cooking for years.
Two: Get a good cookbook and use it! It can be any general cook book that speaks to you, just make sure it does speak to you. Trust me, you will use it. My mom gave the Joy of Cooking to me for my 21st birthday present and I use it all the time.
Three: Get a good knife. Spend more than you think you should. Learn how to keep it sharp. Dull knives, like dull minds, are dangerous, time consuming and frustrating.
And finally, some of the fondest memories are made in kitchens. Recollections of homemade chocolate cake and a Lazy Susan full of boxes and boxes of cereal; sizzling potatoes, the perfect French toast, and new gallons of milk; a happy, although very naughty, dog gobbling up dinner’s remnants, warm my heart. And I think I won my husband’s heart with a ten pound lasagna on Valentine’s day. Well, maybe it wasn’t entirely the lasagna, but I am sure it helped! Food builds bonds with those I love and fond kitchen memories keep a place set for those I have lost. I hope to pass on to my children the wisdom and grace of those who taught me how to peel a potato or set a table. Food transcends time. And food, I hope, will create bonds between my ancestors and my descendants.
Bonne chance et bon appétit!
Jessica blogs at A Day In Earnest.
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I love food too. You touched on so many areas that cover exactly how I think and feel. Isn’t it wonderful to watch family enjoy something that you made. Love is a wonderful ingredient and you can never find it in a fast food take-out container. Thank you for the great post, it was wonderful.
On October 26, 2010 at 7:36 am
Jessica, thank you so much for this post. Made me stop and think. Food was always the center of our family get togethers and we solved a lot of problems around the table. And there is nothing as nice as remembering our past while eating something “like grandma used to make”. This world has gone crazy about lots of things, but isn’t it good we can at least control this one little thing.
On October 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm
Vicki in So. CA says:
What a lovely post. If you haven’t heard of the Slow Food movement, you might want to check this site: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/about_us/
Even if you’re not a member, or interested in becoming one, reading about what people are doing worldwide is enlightening and encouraging… IMHO. 🙂
On October 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm
Amen! Great post!
On October 26, 2010 at 8:14 pm
so true…i agree with kellyb’s comment & I have so many happy memories of cooking with my grand mother….
the other day we had a rep from a “shop at home” type food service come out to our house… he was trying to make up a shopping list of what we use/would purchase… Bread crumbs? – no i make my own…, jelly? – no I make my own, BBQ Sauce? No I make my own….,mayo? No, Easy to make….bacon? do you have the thick cut? I love the thick cut – actually just found out how to make that at home & want to give that a try next….
I could just imagine what he was thinking….
On October 27, 2010 at 12:19 pm
Jessica Tibbetts says:
Thank you all for such positive comments.
I do know about the slow food movement and, although not a card carrying member, I strongly agree with what those folks are doing.
I am working toward cutting out the grocery store, it’s my goal anyway, by the end of 2011. I want to grow it myself or buy direct from the producer. I am sure I’ll have lots of memeories in the making while working toward that goal.
Thanks again for the great feedback. It really helps keep me motivated!
On October 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm
Am in Southern Africa, in a country called Zambia. Here its too expensive to buy food from take aways/restaurants, so 90% of the people cook food at home. Most office workers also carry food from home and eat during their lunch break.
Usualy we buy raw meat, chicken, sausage, fish etc as well as raw veggies and cook from scratch. Its alot of work/time consuming, but so much tastier and healthy. Also like you said, its great to see your family and friends enjoy food you have cooked.
For us the best chickens are the ones we buy live and slaugther, pluck and cook ourselves, I bet that sounds strange to you, but is totally normal for us.
Fish also has got to be scaled and cleaned, you can rarely find cleaned fish, unless in the large retail shops, but most people avoid it coz we are not used to it.
Great blog, I should cook more often, too often I delegate cooking to the maid.
On April 19, 2011 at 8:05 am
Jessica Tibbetts says:
Thank you for you comments. I am flattered that someone so far away from the US has read my post.
And no, slaughtering live fowl for food isn’t strange to me. It commonly occurs around here. Turkey, Guinea, Chicken, and Rabbit are all from the farm and all are grown and harvested by my family.
My husband fishes at local ponds and he cleans and cooks his catch. I’m not used to it, either.
On April 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm