I don’t love cooking. I don’t mind it, but it isn’t a passion. It’s a necessity. I like food. I enjoy eating things that are tasty. I enjoy trying new foods. Cooking… if I had a replicator from Star Trek, I might not learn to really cook with fresh ingredients. Except maybe bread. Kneading dough is very cathartic and the smell of fresh bread… unparrelled.
I don’t like being hungry. It’s uncomfortable. I don’t want to be (or eat) unhealthy. It’s also uncomfortable. Both in the short and the long term. I repeat, I don’t love cooking. My relationship with food is thus complex.
Eating healthy is not, despite the attempts of diet advertisers to convince me, easier than eating unhealthy. If I must choose between buying a box of cereal and gallon of milk versus looking for fresh vegetables and (healthy) salad dressing… well the cereal is both faster AND it lasts longer. You have to find ingredients for the salad, then prep them, and then store leftovers. Lettuce goes gross fast once it’s exposed to air. Or…. pour cereal. Pour milk. Eat.
I like salad! But don’t try to lie to me and tell me it’s “easier.” It’s not. It is delicious. Or, at least, it can be.
Hot dogs are easier. Mac and cheese is easy – even homemade which still isn’t actually very healthy. Waffles are easy (seriously, the hardest part is not forgetting to put on the timer). Pasta is easy, easy, EASY. None of them are per se delicious or special (maybe waffles or mac and cheese). Definitely, they are not healthy.
I want to be healthy. I want to be healthIER even. And it’s hard. I’m not inspired to cook. If you gave me the choice between sitting and writing for four hours or spending one hour cooking…. I’d take the four hours writing almost every time. Almost every time.
There is something challenging in cooking and getting it right that is appealing. I am not competitive with other people. I don’t want to “win” against someone else. But beating myself? Being faster or tastier or cheaper? Sure. Getting the combination of spices right to get a great flavor? Interesting. Trying new foods? Absolutely.
I get distracted with the dishes (inevitably) created. I get frustrated when the combination isn’t what I expected or I don’t understand the steps in a recipe. I get bored when chopping vegetables. Not even just onions, but carrots. Much less something annoying like a tomato or an avacado (again, delicious – not easier!).
I think the people who truly find joy in the creation of cooking are pretty amazing. I am in awe of their focus. I fantasize being more like them. I romanticize their brains into these amazing tapestries of brillance around flavor and texture combinations. I bask in their conversation, even when I know I will never apply it like they do.