Thoughts on Cooking…

Cooking has always been a pleasure for me. Preparing and putting the different ingredients together, waiting for it to heat or cool, then eating. 

Often cooking your own food tastes better than the bought version especially when it came to baking, and I enjoyed the process of experimenting and adjusting. I also loved making other people happy. I especially felt that way, when my son was young, and I would make something for his class, for snack or birthdays.

But there was another level to why I cooked, there was something bigger.  In the back of my mind, I thought when I cooked I wasn’t buying something, someone else’s recipes, someone else’s tastes, someone else’s ingredients—which I didn’t know what it  consisted off—on top which were packed by a of a lot of plastic waste.

But I’ve never sat down and thought about it too much, it was just a sense I had. So when I read this excerpt from Michael Pollan’s “Cooked” it was a revelation to me. Not only it wasn’t just me who had the these ideas, there were indeed something socio-economic and philosophical behind those feelings I had. 

Since I read this, I have started to make my own bread, which I found to be possible, and with focaccia, even easy. 

The next step will be making my own soap and shampoo, without the plastic bottles, without palm oil, as my son and I are very concerned for the primates territories palm plantations take over. It’s been something that we’ve struggled with for years, having a hard time finding alternatives that we liked, but with making our own, we might have found the solution. 

To cook or not to cook thus becomes a consequential question. Though I realize that is putting the matter a bit too bluntly. Cooking means different things to different people; seldom is it an all-or-nothing proposition. Yet even to cook a few more nights a week than you already to, or devote a Sunday to making a few meals for the week, or perhaps to try ever now and again to make something you only ever expected to buy–even these modest acts will constitute a kind of a vote. A vote for what exactly? Well, in a world where so few are obliged to cook anymore, to choose to do so is to lodge a protest against specialization–against the total rationalization of life. Against the infiltration of commercial interests into every last cranny of our lives. To cook for the pleasure of it, to devote a portion of our leisure to it, is to declare our independence from corporations seeking to organize our every waking moment into yet another occasion for consumption. (Come to think of it, our nonwaking moments as well: Ambien, anyone?) It is to reject the debilitating notion that, at least while we’re at home, production work is best done by someone else, and the only legitimate form of leisure is consumption. This dependence marketers call “freedom.” 

Cooking has the power to transform more than plants and animals” It transforms us, too, from mere consumers into producers. Not completely, not all the time, but I found that even to shift the ratio between these two identities a few degrees towards the side of production yields deep and unexpected satisfactions…… 

In the calculus of economics, [cooking] may not always be the most efficient use of an amateurs cook’s time, but in the calculus of human emotion, it is beautiful even so. For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for the people you love? 

About Sunny Skies Kitchen

Yan lives in Los Angeles, California with her son in a home with a small but busy kitchen. Her goal is to create enough original recipes to publish a cookbook.

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