Every day in our life's journey holds its own special treasures, if we have eyes to see...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cooking for Love

All  who love to cook will most likely not understand what I am about to say, and those who already cook for love will be like, DUH!, but for the rest of us, I thought I'd share a recent pondering about cooking.

I have cooked at least one meal a day for over 30 years. That's a lot of food. That's also a lot of work. I think perhaps (though it is a hazy memory) I once looked forward to cooking. Or not to the act of cooking, exactly, but to having someone to cook for. Enter Prince Charming, aka Dave. Definitely. But after the initial amazement wore off, cooking did not. I was basically the cook. That has been one of my jobs through the years, and actually, I think I can say without boasting that I am quite good at it.

But I can also say that cooking does not excite me. Cooking has been to me something that must be done, and since I usually have multiple things going on pretty much all waking hours, I have often resented the time cooking demands. To off-set this, I have accrued an arsenal of tasty meals I can prepare in record time. But the other evening I was watching the Pixar/Disney film Ratatouille.

In this animated flick, a rat, Remi, is a French chef. The movie is cute, but it was in the bonus features that I heard a little phrase that may have power to transform my cooking. Well, maybe not my cooking, but how I view it. In an interview, a chef made the comment that at one point in his training, it suddenly dawned on him that he was making food for people.

Okay, I know that is elementary. I mean after all--that's who most of us cook for, right? But it struck me: what if instead of cooking to get it done, I cooked with people in mind--people I love. So I tried it the other night. The dinner itself was nothing gourmet, but somehow as I thought about giving the gift of my time to create something that would bring pleasure to people--who are, after all, the greatest tresures in the earth--I found myself more intentional.

As I put in more care, genuine creativity kicked in. A little improvisation in the form of broccoli and cauliflower roasted in a smidge of browned butter and sprinkled with garlic salt---mmmm. Definitely better than plain steamed, (or my usual fast vege--plain raw).

Nothing earth shattering, eternal, or heart-rending. But on the other hand, the fact that one small phrase has the power to change a 30-year task from something that must be done to an opportunity to bless and create is pretty cool!

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