Get ready for some philosophy from a not-so-philosophical person.
Why I Cook
When we were little kids, the main things we learned were numbers and colors. Sure there was the animal unit in Kindergarten and cursive in second grade, but I remember learning about numbers and colors vividly. We carefully fingerpainted blurred lines of blue and yellow and squealed when it made green, counted to ten playing hide and go seek, and counted down the days until our next birthday while dreaming about what color frosting our mom would put on our cake.
I think that, as we grow up, we make decisions of how to keep finding amazement in numbers and colors. Engineers see numbers as devices that create things and make them come alive. Teachers paint pictures of historical stories and let their students learn by creating colorful characters in order to act out moments in history. Accountants see numbers as formulas that make our entire social system run smoothly. Theater students paint sets and create new worlds in order to keep audiences entertained. Everyone finds a way to get the same excitement from numbers and colors that we did when we first learned about them as kids.
Now, I’m not saying I’m a chef. No, I’m so so far from that. But at this point in my life, when I’m still trying to figure out who I am and what my career will be, one thing I do know about myself is that I cook.
I find joy in measuring 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda into a bowl of sifted flour as I embark on making a giant chocolate cake. I get excited when I click on a recipe and have to make a list of ingredients to hunt for. I’m proud when I can include green, yellow, orange, AND red peppers into a dish, and even more proud when I can make a dessert tart made from all different types of berries fanning out in a distinct pattern.
I cook because it brings me back to the days when I didn’t even know the storylines of Disney movies, but I could remember the colors throughout the films clearly. I cook because there’s something almost magical about measuring ingredients that are completely unlike each other and someway, somehow, they all come together and create a dish. Cooking should be impossible. It makes no sense. But it happens and creates something beautiful. Whenever I successfully cook something, I feel that excitement that I did when I was a kid. Cooking is a wonder.