Friday, December 30, 2011

Cooking, food, and love

Recently I watched one of my absolute favorite movies about food, Eat Drink Man Woman. (Others include Goodfellas, Godfather, Ratatouille, Babette's Feast, and Marie Antoinette.) One of the really beautiful things about Eat Drink Man Woman in particular is how the preparation of beautiful and delicious meals stands for love and caring.

Honestly, this movie is one of the things that made me want to be a good chef. When I became part of my family (and here I'm talking about my wonderful blended family of myself, my husband, and my four stepkids), I knew that I wanted to bring us all together in some way, and I somehow settled on cooking the best, healthiest, prettiest food I could.

I know I got this from my mother. She is widely acknowledged to be a fabulous cook -- even if she makes things that I am personally too picky to enjoy: casseroles, lasagna, meatloaf -- everyone who does enjoy those things tells me she's the best at it. I believe them because everything else she makes is wonderful, and I think that one of the reasons her cooking is so good is that she puts her love for those she's cooking for into the meal.

Cooking time is special, too, because you have to be totally present and concentrated on what you are doing. It's very nearly meditative, as when you are really in the zone, everything outside fades. It's at this point when your love comes in, as attention, as detail, as luck.

Our family is lucky in that we get to sit down to dinner at the table together every night, and usually at least once a week with a larger group of family and friends. This time is special as it allows us to talk over our days, discuss events, plans, tell jokes, and generally binds us together as a family. I am so glad to be able to offer my love through the food we all share.