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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: why we cook

Every year around this time I have a soul-searching-flip-my-life-upside-down-and-inside-out moment where I microscopically ponder where I am, who I am, goals, dreams, hopes, fears, disappointments, triumphs. They say there's such a thing as seasonal emotions, and perhaps 'they' are right. As soon as the annual spring cleaning time comes and flutters away, I'm left feeling like the little neglected closet in the attic that didn't get dusted, rearranged or cleared out. Maybe, and forgive of course my farm inspired poetic puns of late, but maybe just maybe, like the rain soaked earth and sprouting summer buds, I too am anticipating to emerge as something greater than the sum of my parts. Maybe every year is a chance to plant a seed of growth, renewal and change. Contemplating without over abusing the power of thought. I tend to get lost in myself, making too many plans and dreaming too hard (re: not too high) while burdening myself to even start with any one thing. Through it all though, I feel at peace when I cook.

So you may have already settled into the changes I've made around here. I want this blog to reflect where I am in life. I knew the title for this blog would always be fitting, because this isn't a cookie cutter perfect cooking blog like you read about in Lucky or Saveur magazine, where the pictures are always perfectly lit and the recipes have been tested my elves and the writing is like a future NY Times bestseller and the sidebar has little icons of awards its won from say, oh, Saveur magazine. Its always going to be a bit disheveled, as I slowly grow into who I want or need to be, while relating to you any chance I get. And its you, who I wonder about curiously, that I want to ask a silly little question.

Why do we cook?

I don't come bearing gifts, a giveaway, or a nationally sponsored prize for those who answer the most profoundly. Again, this isn't that kind of blog. But maybe you are twirling your hair at work, maybe you are sinking into the couch with a cup of tea. Wherever you are in the world, garner a thought. Draw out the memory of your first significant moment in the kitchen. What was it like and why do you still get back in the kitchen now?

What I am most grateful for so far while experiencing life as an organic farmer, is that whether its a family farm by definition or not, we certainly are family. And most days, these days anyway, I find that I cook simply to dress the table. I hadn't quite noticed before how prolific this habit is, and how much of a peaceful halo surrounds me as I do it. But the difference between me and everyone else in the farmhouse is that fine line between dinner and communal dinner. If ever there was a time to feel incomplete, it would certainly be me, standing before a table piled high with mail, keys and notes, plates strewn across from nights prior, and not a utensil in sight. You'll find me quietly yet keenly, fidgeting about, removing each unwanted article off the table one by one, giddily replacing them with the choice dinnerware of the night, utensils atop folded napkins, and serving dishes with their matching spoons and spatulas. I stand back, and my eyes are always aglow. Pride. That's the word. Now everyone can come to the table I have set and feel something. They might feel warmth from the welcoming sight. They might feel special, as if they are the only ones at the table. Or even relief, that they themselves would have done the same were it not for how worn down they feel from the long day's work. And then I approach the table with a platter of warm steaming goodness. A pot of summer risotto perhaps, or an Italian style heirloom tomato pasta. Or maybe its brunch on a Sunday and its a fried egg sweet potato hash with spinach. Yes. For me, I cook... just to set the table.

How about you?


  1. I cook so that my hubby will be full and satisfied after a long day! gigi. food and beauty blogger @

  2. What stands out the most in my first memories of cooking (or baking rather) are the warm smells of cinnamon and sugar on cool fall days. To me, nothing is as comforting as a heated oven filled with some goodies just waiting to be eaten.

  3. I don't cook much, but I have been dabbling in it for past few years and do enjoy it, I find it to be very relaxing. It's just taken a long time for me to catch on. I've found lots of great recipes that I'm hoping to get to try this fall. I live at home with my mom, she doesn't let me in the kitchen much, lol. Yet, she wants me to learn so I can do it more often. But yeah, it is fun!

    Great post. By the way, I think you write beautifully! My name is Sarah, this is my first visit. My blog is Skylar Magazine, feel free to stop by if you'd like.

    Have an awesome day!


  4. Anonymous11:31 AM EDT

    I really enjoyed this post. For me, cooking is a great way to unwind after a tough day. I've recently learned the joys of cooking with other people, especially when everything goes right and you feel like a team. But, even if a dish doesn't turn out as planned, it's still a great time to bond with a friend or family member.


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