Michael Ruhlman started a meme a couple of weeks ago where he asked people to blog about why they cook. Above is his TEDxCLE talk about why cooking is essential to making us human, to making us families, and to making us reasonably healthy human beings. It’s well worth the fifteen minutes (and he’s sort of adorably nervous, as one would be).
He says in the video, and on the follow up post on his blog, that we need to make cooking an imperative. With which I agree. But I guess one of the things I’ve been trying to figure out by writing about it (the only way I ever figure anything out) is why we need to make cooking anything. How did we get to this place where cooking, and I’m not talking elaborate, or slow food, or gourmet, or any of those things, I’m just talking about the simple act of cooking our meals on a regular basis has become so strange? Where cooking for yourself and your family has become the exception, not the rule?
I cook because it would be weird not to. I cook because it’s cheaper to cook for myself than to eat out. I cook because I like food I can’t get here in Montana (the nori roll I ate for lunch, Thai curry, good pizza). I cook because my parents cooked (although my grandmother hated cooking, and we lived on Hostess cakes at her house — they came sanitarily wrapped, an important thing in her kitchen). I cook because I believe that sharing a meal with the person I love is one of the ways we build a life together. I cook because I like to, and because it’s fun, and because I find it creative and a good way to wind down of an evening. But mostly, I cook because it would be just downright weird not to cook. Not cooking would be like letting someone else breathe for me.
So readers, why do you cook — or for those of you who don’t, why don’t you?