From chore to joy

Don't be afraid. Be curious.

For many of us cooking is a mostly a chore. It may be annoying, boring or overwhelming - yet another task to fit into our busy days.

It is not surprising we are often looking for shortcuts, excuses and a way out. We think the solution may be a new gadget to make the chore 'easier', or perhaps we must get 'better at cooking' armed with a new year's resolution and a new cookbook, or we decide to avoid it altogether and let someone else (likely a corporation) do the cooking for us.

But what if we embraced preparing our own meals as a practice of self care and self respect? What if we took the time and attention to nourish ourselves with a spirit of joy and freedom. What if we looked at cooking through the curious eyes of a child, as an exciting adventure of tempting flavours and delicious transformations. What if cooking is about the journey, not the destination?

Don't be afraid. Be curious. Curiosity is all you need: What does your food look like? What does it feel like? What does it taste and smell like? Pay attention to your senses and the food in front of you. Not on the book or the screen or the clock.

Forget the staged photos, flamboyant TV chefs, and the latest trends. It's just dinner. It isn't rocket science. Even if we are often made to believe that cooking is some sort of specialist skill. On the contrary, cooking is the one behaviour that sets us humans apart from all other animals, its arrival becoming a real turning point in the evolution of the human species.

I'm convinced we all have a cook in us. But that primal intuition has gone into hiding as the noise around food is getting louder all the time. TV shows, competitions, social media... everyone is obsessing about food while we collectively cook less and less. Rather than turning to the specialists - those chefs, nutritionists and food corporations - to tell us what to eat and how to cook, I want to propose we turn inwards to find our inner cook buried under all that noise. We all know how to cook.

Let's start by reclaiming our curiosity about food. Don't wait for others to tell us what we should like and eat, rather, learn to trust our own taste. And there is only one way to do it: get in the kitchen and get your pots dirty.


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