Why we cook

Dal Makhani

Dal makhani

Why do you cook? Do you cook just to feed yourself? Is it because you enjoy the food, or because you enjoy cooking itself? Do you cook to impress people? Do you cook for yourself, or do you cook for others?

Gentle reader, you'll have to be extra gentle around me today. If you've noticed the posts slowing down over the last week, it's because in my evenings I've been busy helping to pack a year's worth of clothes, providing a year's worth of preemptive tech support, and most importantly spending a year's worth of time hanging out with Lucy. And yesterday, she flew off to Japan.

This morning as I was planning my meals for the week, nothing came to mind. Left to my own devices I'll usually throw together a miscellaneous bowl of pasta for dinner, but with Lucy around I'm motivated to make things special. Now that she's overseas (I originally said 'not around', but it's not like she's dead), it's become obvious that a large part of why I cook is to serve food that makes people happy — and there's no one I want to make happier more than Lucy. I loved cooking 'hated' ingredients in a way that she could enjoy for the first time, or when we'd be eating at a restaurant and she'd say, "Yours is better". That desire to cook good food as an expression of how I felt is what started my serious interest in cooking. It's no wonder I ate so poorly when I was single.

So does this mean the end of posts at the second pancake? Not quite. Despite the sappy (but true) "cooking as love" angle, the other part of me cooks for the challenge, the competition. Some would accuse Gordon Ramsay of taking the fun out of cooking, but ignoring his media saturation and the entire US series of Hell's Kitchen, I admire him for his obsession with perfection — you can always do better.

Speaking of which, let's get on with it.

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