If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that cooking is a chore, I would be a rich man. Cooking a meal is just that: "cooking a meal."
We all need food to stay alive, and as our homes are all equipped with kitchens, we cook. Maybe some of us more than others, but we all still cook.
Some kitchens have their owners' unharnessed culinary passions bestowed upon them on a daily basis, while the only glory days in other kitchens may be derived from someone adding onions and garlic to a saucepan of store-bought pasta sauce. but it is all still cooking.
I hate to even imagine that there is a percentage of our population that relies on consuming products like TV dinners, frozen pizzas, and spray can pancake batter. Yes, I did say "spray can pancake batter" - employees of a large grocery chain, tell me they are constantly bombarded with requests from consumers for fast, already-prepared meals to just heat and serve. Is there really a growing number of people who have come to rely on pre-made meals from packages or containers? Have we lost so much time in our busy lifestyles that we cannot commit to practising creativity in the one life-nourishing art that our homes have always been designed around?
Who made cooking negative anyway?
We did, as human beings.
Take the simple tasks of washing a vehicle, mowing the lawn, or a daily commute to work. Are these negative tasks that we all are destined to suffer through for the rest of our lives? No, some of us thrive in them. What makes these tasks - and cooking - a chore then?
One of the things we do, which no other life form does, is analyze and label. Every thing we do, other than breathe or blink, we analyze and label. We create good and bad, positive and negative with our natural human psyche without even realizing it, for the most part.
Cooking is just cooking. If it is positive for one and negative for another, it is because each individual has made it so. It is their opinion or perception that makes the act of doing something a joy or a nagging daily occurrence.
Don't get me wrong; people are entitled to their opinions, and if there are people out there who are happy with cooking being a chore, then so be it. What I don't want is people believing that they don't have a choice. Of course, you have a choice.
You just need to find the way to create a positive frame of mind about the task at hand. So with cooking, in our home, we introduce music and a favourite beverage to the environment, and use it as an enjoyable opportunity to catch up with each other and take pleasure in the family being together.
Everyone is unique, however, and what seems to be a simple change of focus to creative optimistic endeavours for one person, may need to be completely different for someone else. What makes you happy? What can you bring into the kitchen environment (mentally or physically) in order to make a more optimistic approach to this life-essential assignment?
Whatever it takes for a more positive approach, you will typically save money and eat healthier overall for doing so. and hopefully enjoy yourself, your family, and your kitchen more. Happy cooking!
Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4