Every once in a while I have people ask me "why" I cook the way I do. The short answer has just always been because I like to. I have always felt more grounded and in touch with who I really am as I cook. It is my stress reliever when times are hard and my enjoyment when life is good. I cook when I am sad, when I am happy, when I am lonely, when I am surrounded by love, and when I just am simply bored. I have never examined what drives me to try making something from scratch that I can easily by prepared or in a mix. But now that I have more time to focus on food through this blog I wonder if my reasoning runs deeper than just liking to cook.
There is a certain feeling that comes when I serve food to the people I care about in my life. I don't know what that feeling is, I don't even know how to describe it. I do know that when people gather to eat a meal that I helped create I enjoy every moment of the process most especially the eating. I truly believe that there is something that food does to a group of people who gather to eat; it unites us even if only for a few minutes, it creates memories and when the person who made the food did so with love, it just always tastes better.
My memories run deeper than merely eating the food though. Watching all the work that went into the end result was fascinating for me. While my cousins played outside on Thanksgiving, I remember sitting on a stool watching my Grandma H. making Parker House rolls. On quiet days my mom would make her family apple sauce cookie recipe that still to this day makes me think of her when I eat them. Then there were the hot summer days at my Grandma VC's house when she would make homemade Roquefort dressing for the salads we were eating, or the big Sunday pot roast dinners with gravy and all the sides that Grandma W. made. And let's not forget the breads and pies that my Dad made, he taught me so much ("you can always add flour Jenny, but you can never take it away.") Then there are all the countless hours of cooking shows I have watched in this lifetime that have added to the foundation of cooking knowledge passed to me by my loved ones. All of these moments added something to who I am now; the memories I have, and the love I feel for everyone who nourished my body and my mind as I grew up, allow me to do the same now for people I care about.
So the answer to the "why" question is that I make food and go through the work because I like to, it has become a part of what makes me who I am. I like to remember my loved ones who have passed on and make their food, I like to cook with my family and enjoy the end of a busy day, I like to see everyone smile (or grimace) when they try something new, I like to be surrounded by people I care about and enjoy the camaraderie that results, I like food, I like the process, I like sharing my experiences with others and taking in theirs, and most important I just simply like to cook.