Monday, November 9, 2009

The Joy of Cooking

Growing up, I was blessed with many a great meal.  My father was a chef (specializing in French cuisine) and my mother was professionally trained in the kitchen with him.

You might assume, then, that I was spoiled with rich foods every day.  While I did develop my palate eating escargot and the like at a young age, that was the exception--not the norm.  We were poor, folks.  Anyhow, if you are a true foodie, you'll know that the staple foods in any regional cuisine are traditionally peasant meals.  Truly great meals are composed of cheap and fresh ingredients.  Most days, our meals were made up of inventive variations of beans and rice.  And those are two staples I still love.

So, why do I find joy in cooking?

I find it connects me to the best of my childhood.

You see, my father unexpectedly passed away in 2001.  It was jarring.  I wasn't sure how to cope.  And I eventually found solace in the kitchen.

Even now, when I'm in the kitchen chopping, dicing, seasoning...I feel close to him.  I find that my memory strays back to times watching him whip up a feast in the kitchen.  I remember funny times when my dad would sing (loudly) as he deboned a chicken.  I fondly recall how he would dance about the kitchen as he prepared our breakfast, nonchalantly flipping a pan of anything from an omelet to hashbrowns.  I remember how gracefully he sharpened his knives--his tools of the trade.  And I remember how he could look into a barren cupboard and refrigerator and still manage to put together a flavorful meal with scraps.  He was like the MacGyver of the cooking world from my perspective.

My father found joy in cooking and serving others.

So, now, I find that same joy.  Whether I'm in the kitchen for a few minutes making a solo meal or I'm in there for hours making a feast for many, I'm joyful and thankful.

Just food for thought.

Bon Appetit!

"Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water." ~ Exodus 23:25a (NIV)

(Potato Cakes)

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