Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The World of Food and Cooking


Carrot Top
 Share

Recommended Posts

What does the world of food and cooking mean personally, to you?

Is it...

A way to express an artistic or creative urge?

Something that has to be done so might as well be done well?

A profession? A desired profession?

An entertainment in following celebrity chefs and restaurants?

A neccesary requirement in educating oneself for health reasons?

Something spiritual?

Something that is about feeling cared for or expressing that care to others?

A natural follow-up to an interest in farming or ecology?

Something else?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My passion. At times it has been my profession, but it is truly my way of expressing myself, creating, giving and always learning. I love food. I love creating food. It's never boring. (Or doesn't have to be) There is always something new to learn, to try. I guess I've found a home at eG for all these reasons. :smile:

caveat: then there are the days when a glass of wine and a piece of cheese constitutes dinner! :shock: We're all human.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It means different things at different times.

Back in my crazed corporate days where projects took so long and there was always another fire, cooking gave me a sense of accomplishment. I would start planning and then shop and cook and finally have something tangible to show for all of my work.

It can also mean love and sharing. There are few things that give me more pleasure than seeing people I care about sitting around my table feeling happily sated.

There's the relaxing aspect or what I call the zen of chopping. There's just something about the rhythm of chopping vegetables that puts me at ease.

And there are others which will come to me later.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, it's both a necessity (we all gotta eat!) and a tangible expression of creativity. I have a strong desire to create, but other forms (writing, sculpture, painting) are lacking in instant gratification, and frankly are 'permanent' enough to make me nervous. All I can do with a bad poem I've written, or a lumpy sculpture I've made, is look at it and wince - I want to throw it out, but feel the need to keep it for posterity...(?)

If I screw up a recipe, not as big a deal. I can throw it out with little-to-no guilt (unless I've just ruined a nice piece of fish or beef), grin-and-bear-it and chow down, or find some way to salvage it. If it turns out mediocre, well, I eat it and then it's gone, and I can start afresh. Bad dishes become funny stories to entertain friends with later, not embarrassing failures to keep in your scrapbook or closet.

As I've been cooking for others more recently on a daily basis (finally got my roommate and her man to share dinner w/ me a few times a week), I'm starting to appreciate the human, nuturing angle of cooking as well. I like feeding people! I like the warmth and comfort that comes from a home-cooked meal, and I like giving others this comfort. Slowly, I am getting roomie-and-boyfriend to pay more attention to what they're eating, to help with small tasks, to learn how to do things in the kitchen and feed themselves, to start to appreciate the fact that a little effort brings great results when it comes to food, to notice how much better 'real' food tastes.

I think that's enough! :biggrin: I could go on and on.

Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, personally, food is:

* an outlet for my creativity in a tangible manner

* a means of expressing my identity and, of course, my heritage

* enjoying and sharing seasonal cooking, cross-cultural influences, and healthy preparation and techniques (and some not-so-healthy! :rolleyes: )

* revelling in new types of presentation

* experimentation with all manner of flavors

* application of cooking techniques I have mastered

But, primarily, a way of sharing "myself" with indivuals for whom I love, care, and cherish..... it is said that there is nothing quite so beautiful as a woman preparing a meal for the man she loves ... this is, of course, old and sexist .. but it applies to everyone at one time or another!

A great topic, Carrot Top, from a beautiful soul who knows her food and her writing about that food! Thank you! :biggrin:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Primarily, it is a way of pleasing my taste buds. That's the whole reason I started cooking in the first place - I didn't have the money to eat out all the time, and as long as I had to eat what I made, it was going to taste good. For me, taste is where it all starts - if it doesn't taste good, I don't care about texture or origin or authenticity.

In a way, cooking is a way for me to play with the palette of flavor, as interior decorators play with visual spatial sense. When I think about what to make for dinner, I think about what flavors I'd like to experience that night....then perhaps about the textures that will carry them.

It's also comfort - not just comfort foods, but the action of cooking them is calming. I made tuna salad the other day, in the middle of a lot of things going wrong, and the simple rituals of chopping celery and onions, draining the tuna, and adding lemon juice at just the right time were surprisingly relaxing.

And it's a way to share...not just sharing sustenance, but a shared experience of flavor and texture.

And maybe it is empowering - even when everything else is going wrong, I KNOW I can cook a meal that will be tasty and satisfying. When I am in the kitchen, I am in control - maybe not absolute control, since you never know when you're going to run across a bitter cucumber, but far more so than the rest of modern life allows. I can control the flavors and textures, the seasonings are my choice.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's my creative outlet... the first time my lavendar honey bread came out with the perfect balance between the two, I could have had a wisdom tooth out and not cared.

It's also my way of communicating to my friends and loved ones. You know, those things that are so hard to communicate... like: you screwed up babe, and you're gonna get burnt toast until you apologize :shock: Oh, wait, I mean the other communication...

But mostly, it's my way of having cheap therapy. Yesterday, the simple act of sharing my food took all of the disappointment of not receiving all of the raise I was promised (40% of my base salary as a promised raise reduced to 8%, then strangely upped to 27%). I was extraordinarily pissed until I shared my food and the young gal I shared it with was asking me for the recipe and questions about technique. It made it all momentarily better.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What does the world of food and cooking mean personally, to you?

Is it...

A way to express an artistic or creative urge?

Something spiritual?

Something that is about feeling cared for or expressing that care to others?

A natural follow-up to an interest in farming or ecology?

Something else?

All of the above. Also, a desired profession, but in a sorta sideways manner: I am a blossoming food writer. So food and cooking mean something to write about, which I suppose is just another creative/artistic urge. :smile:

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What does the world of food and cooking mean personally, to you?

Is it...

A way to express an artistic or creative urge?

Something that has to be done so might as well be done well?

A profession? A desired profession?

An entertainment in following celebrity chefs and restaurants?

A neccesary requirement in educating oneself for health reasons?

Something spiritual?

Something that is about feeling cared for or expressing that care to others?

A natural follow-up to an interest in farming or ecology?

Something else?

It's most of these and more. I have to really agree though- it's a good way to express your creativity, to express your love/care/welcoming spirit for others, - and just for relaxation, bonding with other people- it's also a great way to get to know other countries/places/ peoples

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't misunderstand - I adore dining and few things give me greater pleasure than a dish, simple or complex, that has been well prepared and gives me both immediate and longer-term satisfaction. To me, however, it starts before that... for to paraphrase Brillat-Savarin "Animals eat, men and women dine, and men and women of good taste dine well"

The things we eat, the way we eat them and the reasons we eat them are far more than what goes into our mouth and comes out either as fat or from our lesser parts. These are no less than a reflection of what makes us human - we eat when we are not hungry, we avoid eating the foods of our perceived enemies, we eat for reasons that are often social and have nothing to do with the need for food, we eat for reasons normal, masochistic and sadistic, and we avoid eating those things that our God or gods have forbidden to us.

In a phrase, food and dining are reflections not only of our history as human beings but of our sociology, psychology and philosophy. Culinaria is an art-form no less elevated than any other separated from the others only in that in order to appreciate a great culinary creation we must destroy it (that is to say, to eat it) and one of the roles of the chef, unlike the painter or sculptor, is to re-create his/her masterpieces on a regular basis.

And, of course, dining well and leisurely in good company is a social experience par excellence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Food and cooking.

basically is everything. we need food to function, we have to do it every day, so we may as well enjoy the chore.

Cooking is my career of choice and a complete obsession. I am studying moluecular chemistry at degree level to try and understand what it is that makes the perfect meal, also its occasionally fun to sidetrack for novelties sake.

but I cannot forget that whilst science can help to make a combination or technique better, the second you put it in your mouth science has to go out the window and the chefy skills developed over the last 15 years must take over.

in a nutshell, i'ts my world my life my everything, but not at the cost of my family who all thankfully share the passion, after all my son's favourite things to do on days off is make sushi and ice creams.

Alex.

after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me it is the most fulfilling thing I do. Just the act of preparing a single recipe to perfection is enough, no matter how simple or complex it is. The results are tangible and immediate, one does not have to wait to see how the public accepts my creation as is the case with art work. If it is just for myself it satisfies me that I have produced something that pleases me.

I love to share the products of my obsession, especially when I can produce something that is no longer in vogue in the home kitchen.

I just like to feed people whether or not I see them enjoy it.

Before arthritis made it impossible, I was a regular volunteer at fund raising events, cooking endless pancakes, waffles and my own "instant" French toast, for attendees.

For many years I spent the day before Thanksgiving baking numerous pies at the local senior citizen center for distribution to house-bound seniors and for dinners for the homeless.

There is a profound gratification in knowing that one's efforts are of benefit and comfort to others.

It is the most satisfying way of giving of oneself.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of you have written such interesting, heartfelt and beautiful words about this subject....

I've struggled to try to sort out what it is to me.

I thought that the common thread that ran through it all these years was basically the giving and nurturing part...but it is not just that.

In ways that play more minor parts are the ideas of creativity, artistic outlet. That is what first drew me to it. The colors, the textures, the tastes and aromas of food...the endless techniques and combinations, the vast amount of culturally related creative ways of doing things....

and then of course as time went on it was a great way to make a living...for a while...till the purity of the original intent was distorted by the nature of the business I was in. To have to look at it in this formal cutthroat business-like way unfortunately made for an eventual loss of savor. I found I had no blood-lust for competition at high stakes...no matter that the underlying focus and beauty was food.

There was a period (perhaps others have experienced this too) where I lost my vocabulary in the subject. It became dull, and though I knew a lot there was just plain boredom. Then, to add insult to injury, I married someone who had no taste for good food.

How could I do this? Can't claim I was drunk, but maybe I was stupid... :laugh:

All of you, with your love of food, have been inspiring to me...as I go quietly back up the path of re-defining my own vocabulary of food...and my gratitude goes out to you.

But here is the nugget of what I found 'a good meal' is to me, after all.

It is safety.

I think Rogov brought this initial seed of thought to my mind, as I read his answer and thought about where, geographically, he was writing from.

A good meal, food, cooking, to me is safety. It is something I can create and feed my children, so that along with other memories, far into years hence, they will smell an aroma, taste a taste, and feel the care that was put into the dish when it was made for them at home (Mayhaw Man spoke of this briefly in another thread...these memories...), a feeling that should give them a sense of sure-footedness and security.

We can not count upon the corporations and businesses for financial safety as perhaps some other generations did. We can not count on safety in our homes, really. And...unfortunately...sometimes we can not count on safety even in the choices we make in marriage...that institution that we vow will 'last forever'.

In an unsure world, a good meal can provide a simple safe comfort. The egg will cook if you put it on heat...the tomato sauce will smell of herbs and garlic, giving an aromatic security to whomever is stirring it. Yes, and even the lettuce will rot if you leave it in the fridge for too long...but all these things provide a small sense of safe harbor just in the fact that they do happen.

We eat within our traditions, the foods we know, and that helps define us, it shores us up to walk out into the daily world which sometimes is loud and battering. It helps us know ourselves and be pleased.

Reminds me of something A.J. Liebling wrote: "A good meal in troubled times is always that much salvaged from disaster."

A beautiful safe harbor of comfort...that's what it is to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's writing like that found in this thread that can make eGullet a bit intimidating at times. :unsure:

Food and cooking is what gave me back my family.

I know divorce is not unusual anymore, but when my divorce occured, it was a moment of profound loss. My two sons were not living with me anymore, and I was relegated to the title of "weekend dad." In addition, my ex began another relationship very soon afterwards. The kids were also referring to him as "dad."

When my sons were with me (they were 4 & 2), meals were the standard Mac & Cheese, sandwiches, pizza ... bachelor food that kids just love. My meals weren't planned as much as they were extracted from whatever I happened to have in the kitchen. They were chances to refuel the stomach, while the soul was left empty.

The change happened after I started watching ... Emeril. I laugh about it now, but, well ... the silly bugger just looked like he was having so much fun! He made food & cooking accessible to people like me. It wasn't complicated ... just good ingredients, prepared properly and with lots of passion. Anybody who knows me knows I have lots of that for my sons. And so I started to cook.

I sat the boys down one morning and asked them what they wanted for dinner. Once we eliminated chocolate cake and pizza - for the umpteenth time :laugh: we decided on chicken enchiladas. We spent the afternoon at the market gathering ingredients, and then came home with the food and a couple movies. I cooked, they watched (me and the movies), and then we ate.

I felt a real sense of accomplishment. Not only had I prepared a pretty darn good (and healthy!) meal, I was a parent again. I was caring for the two most important people in my life and it felt damn good. The boys scarfed down every last bit of dinner even asked for more. When I tucked them in at night, my eldest hugged me and asked, "What's for dinner tomorrow?"

Meal-times are still a very important part of our time together. I've since remarried and my wife feels the same ... it was the fact that I actually cooked that she says won her over. As a family, we make regular visits to the farmers' markets, try out new recipes, and both my sons enjoy helping with meal prep ... less so with clean-up.

Food & cooking is my way of looking after those I love.

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Daddy A

thats fantastic, I am still married and whilst the first few months were trying times for my wife, (she never had a partner who could cook before let alone someone who did it for 80 hours a week), she soon came around to the fact that I actually wanted to share the job, since then we've now got three little Angels (see Fallen)

My eldest started with veg prep when he was three, my children constantly badger me to make stuff with them on days off, favourites being sushi and ice cream. Recently I bought a candy floss machine and this has caused endless tooth rotting days of amusement, however the other day I though I would get my own back and produced a slightly tinged candy floss up for the family to try, my wife asked if the machine had got too hot I smiled and said no everything was fine and my children munched into, soomewhat disbelievingly, Savoury rosemary candy floss.

Alex

after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...