Cooking Connection

Goodlifer: Cooking Connection

“It’s complicated maintaining a kitchen,” my wife said to me, as I began unpacking and assembling our new food mill.

“I guess so,” I was instantly uncomfortable with the word “complicated.”

I’ve always thought of complicated things as anxiety ridden, miserable. It’s not that I had never thought of cooking that way before. I had. During college I’d come home and throw a frozen dinner into the oven or avoid the task altogether by getting take out.

But now I consider cooking to be one of the highlights of my day. I can come home angry or stressed out and after a short time in our kitchen I’m happy as a clam. Cleaning the mill and oiling our new cutting board, I started thinking about how I got from cooking as hassle to cooking as joy. We all have to eat and that means we all have to cook. Some of us hate it. Some of us love it, and others of us just get someone else to do it.

As a boy, I had a tense relationship with cooking. Though I enjoyed it and had an interest in learning more, I grew up in the kind of community where boys who cooked were not met with praise. Harsh criticism and critique of my masculinity all but strangled my interest in cooking by the time I reached college.

It wasn’t until my grandmother became ill that my interest in cooking renewed. It started slowly with some French recipes a friend gave me. I poured over them thinking, “I ate that, when I was a kid.”

Discovering that some of the practices I’d learned from my family were also integral to running a home French kitchen re-ignited my interest. As I was loosing my grandmother, I found a way to maintain connection with her, and ultimately with my family’s cultural background through cooking.

Cooking is about connecting.

It’s about connecting with yourself and about connecting with others. It’s a journey of discovery. If you hate cooking, or it’s an anxiety ridden and complicated experience, I’d like to ask you to come with me on a journey through my kitchen. Perhaps we can find a connection with each other and perhaps, in time, you can find a connection with yourself.

About author
Alexander Hogan occupies his days teaching and conducting research as a professor of political science. Like many of us, he searches for the balance and peace in a hectic, materialistic world. He is a passionate home chef and foodie who resides with his wife and impressive house plant collection in Houston, Texas.
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