When you’re passionate about something, people often ask you why it is that you love that thing so much. In some ways, this question is impossible to answer since most of the time, if you’re passionate about something, it can’t be explained by a list of concrete reasons. You’re passionate because you are and that sometimes seems like the best explanation. Still, there are usually a few tangible reasons a person can cite to explain why he or she loves what they do. I’ve been asked why I love cooking many times. I have yet to come up with the best way to answer the question, but I do have a few reasons I know are true.
I do, quite simply, enjoy the process. I like to throw onions into a hot skillet and hear them sizzle, see them begin to change color, and smell that unbeatable aroma as they cook. I like to have a pot of sauce simmering gently on the back burner as I work to put together a meal. Also, I like to eat. There’s no doubt about it: putting a delicious piece of food into my mouth is one of my favorite experiences in the whole world. The experience is enhanced tenfold when that delicious bite is something that I created. However, the experience is never as good when I am alone. Eating good food that I have cooked is always better when I get to share it, which brings me to the final reason why I love to cook: sharing food.
I almost never go to someone else’s house without food in hand. I like to show up at the door with something I’ve made to hand over. Maybe it’s a desperate attempt to get people to like me; maybe it’s something to break the ice because that’s generally not something I do well on my own. I also never have anyone in my house without offering them food. If I have time, I’ll plan what I’ll serve my guests, whether it is for a meal, or just a snack. If they show up unexpectedly, I always have something languishing in my pantry or fridge that I can doll up and serve. I do this not because I feel obligated to, but because I love it.
Last night, I shared food with someone I share food with just about every day: Andrew. For no reason other than the fact that it was Saturday night and I felt like it, I made us a four-course romantic dinner. I did it because I love to plan meals, I love to make meals, and I love to share food.
So, want to know what I made?
We started with Sesame Seared Tuna and Yuzu Sweet Soya Sauce.
Then, we moved on to a refreshing Salad of Upland Cress, Fennel, Radicchio, and Pear with Balsamic Vinaigrette.For our main, I made Braised Lamb Shanks with Anchovy and Tomatoes on Semolina Gnocchi.
To finish, we had Lemon Mascarpone Mousse with Honey Wheat Tuiles.
It was downright transcendental. And that is why I love to cook.