It’s still a surprise to me that I love cooking, given that it’s only something I discovered since losing weight. I wouldn’t have even phrased it that way until recently, when I was having a conversation with other women about what we love, and one of them said cooking.
That’s when I realized that what I feel, too. Then I started to consider why I love it. I hear so many people say that it’s boring to cook for one person, or they don’t have time for it, or it’s simply not something they enjoy. Why is it different for me?
I have to be honest and agree with the other woman who said she loves it: part of it is the control factor. When I’m in the kitchen and cooking, I am fully in charge of the food, what goes into it, how it’s prepared, etc. In a way it gives me a way to still be focused on controlling food but in a healthier way than obsessing over calories, grams of fat, etc.
It’s more than that, though. Much of my time is spent working on intangible things - computer software at my job, these words that go into the internet ether, music when I practice my flute, conversations with family and friends. Not that those are bad things, but they are not visceral. I cannot hold them or retain them in any but the most fleeting way.
With cooking, I am fulfilling a deeper desire to be doing some physical, with an actual result that I can not only see and touch but smell and taste and even hear, with bubbling soup or sizzling garlic and more. Having something to chop or peel or stir or measure is much more hand’s on than many of my other activities, as well as providing me with something tasty. In this way it’s relaxing for me, especially with some good music playing. It’s also addictive - I find that if I go for too long without preparing food in some way, I miss it and feel out of balance somehow.
And I am continually delighted by the sheer possibility of what you can do with raw ingredients. I have fun flipping through recipes, and picking out something new to try has become one of my favorite activities. What’s also interesting is that when I’m cooking, or thinking about food in this way, I’m not tempted to eat. Even if I’m starting to get hungry, I don’t generally sample what I’m working on unless it’s toward the end and I want to check spices, etc. Simply working with food, or thinking about working with it, is enough to satisfy my mental craving.
So I have to take it on faith that other people don’t like to cook. I am so grateful that I have the means to indulge this love, and it is a continual wonder and blessing for me to enjoy food from this newer perspective.