February 21, 2010

Why I Cook

[caption id="attachment_1580" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Prunus Mume, the plum used to make Plum Sauce and Umeboshi"][/caption]

Michael Ruhlman, as he so often does, got me thinking with his recent post, Why I Cook; he encouraged those of us who blog to write about why we cook. After thinking for awhile, I realized that I cook for some rather specific reasons.

I cook because I am fascinated by the seemingly-magical transformation of simple things; for example how flour, water, salt, and yeast mixed and heated produces bread.

I cook because I love to eat, and I prefer to eat well. By cooking I have control over the quality of what I eat.

I cook because I respect the food I eat and the people who work with Nature to produce it. Thank you, farmers. I have tried my best to grow things, and I've often come reasonably close to minor success. It astounds me that farmers can be successful with regularity. They work harder than anyone I know of, usually for ridiculously insignificant returns, and I can not survive without them. To honor their labor, I need to pay attention to what I am doing, and cook with as much skill as I can.

I cook because I derive great pleasure and satisfaction from carefully selecting ingredients, then combining them to produce the most delicious, nourishing meal I can. Is there anything more nurturing than to provide another person with the sustenance they need to live, and to make it a pleasure for them to enjoy? Is there anything more loving than to use all your skills and senses in the preparation of that meal? For me, the answer is no, which is why I can honestly say that I cook because I love.


  1. Beautiful answer. Cooking and love are definitely intertwined. I'd like to thank you for sharing the link to Michael Ruhlman's post. Some very interesting comments.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a heart-felt answer. And, thank you for acknowledging the farmers. As the daughter of a Dairy farmer, a life-time gardner, and current owner/caretaker of a horse and cattle farm your kind comments are very appreciated. I watched my Dad rise at 4:30 every morning, 365 days a year for most of his life. Hard as it was, he loved it! I live among the meat and vegetable/fruit producers and can say the respect you show for their product is exactly what they want. Thanks again!

  3. Great post Gareth! I've been thinking about this since I read Ruhlman's post, and I think you nailed it here. I love the mechanics of cooking and have a lot of fun in the kitchen, but my favorite part of cooking food is watching my boys eat it. :)

  4. When I purchase my ticket to Portland, I will let you know. Nothing like inviting myself to dinner. Or we can get together with my sister and cook together.

  5. You're on. ;) See you when you get here.

  6. [...] it may seem like I waited to see what other people were saying – after all, the original Ruhlman post was nearly a month ago – [...]