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Why We Cook

"What's for dinner?"


It's the question my son inevitably asks me every single day when he gets in the car after school. Sometimes three or four times before we arrive at home. What. Is. For. Dinner. You're right, it's not really even a question. It's a demand, an expectation, a hope, a consolation....It's what millions of children and adults ask their parents, grandparents, spouses, and themselves all over the world every single day. What?


But that's not the right question. The question is....why? Why do we cook? Why do we gather around a table at the end of a day. Why do we pass a bowl, pour a glass, toss a roll, mix a salad, reach for the salt, swirl a fork, dunk a spoon? Why do small children rest their tiny faces on chubby hands to watch their grandmother's roll out long strands of pasta? Why is decorating cookies something that can draw disinterested teenagers into the kitchen?


A midwife friend came over the other day on her way home from a twelve hour shift. I asked her to stay and she timidly asked if I had anything she could eat. A baked potato with peas and truffle oil rejuvenated her as she sat at my table telling me stories of birth while I cooked for the next supper club. A single friend of ours lives in bustling Manhattan where he can eat anything his heart desires at any time of day and yet when he came to visit he said, "No one has cooked for me in years."


Knowing how to cook is knowing how to connect -- to the earth and to each other. The time it takes to chop, sauté and season is just enough time to reflect, breath, reset and renew. We cannot live unless we eat. But, we cook to create, explore, innovate, express, and most of all connect over inarguably the only thing that we all have in common-our need and desire to be cared for and to be known.


So, what are you making for dinner?


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