I used to cook everyday. It was a great way to end the day. Of course this meant that I slept very late preparing the meal for next day, and that I was spending more on food compared to other people and compared to me when I eat out (without factoring the time spent on cooking). But I loved cooking. Sadly our stove and oven conked out and it has been over a year and a half and I’m still getting by with an electric stove. I hope (I will) I can get my stove/oven fixed and start cooking again. In a way it personalizes food. It also is a way to de-stress.
My family, like most families, generally lives on the go, and we rarely get to have a decent breakfast in the morning. So most weekends I make twelve muffins (a different flavor each week) as breakfast for the week. I’m sure that someone, somewhere is scolding me for feeding my kid a muffin for breakfast. But here’s what I know. When you make Mocha Chip Muffins, as I did this weekend, and see the ingredients going in–the copious amounts of butter, dairy and sugar–it makes you think long and hard about what you’re eating, and what you should eat the rest of the day. It’s one thing to know that a muffin is fatty. It’s another thing to actually add the fat in yourself. Moreover, it’s another thing to see the size of your muffins, and then see the gargantuan muffins that are sold in the stores.
Cooking–and really cooking from scratch–creates a consciousness about food. It creates a respect, an understanding of what, exactly, you’re putting in your body. It’s not that cooking is magically healthier. I’m not convinced that, say, my fried chicken has less calories than KFCs. But that isn’t the point. The point is doing the actual work of frying a great chicken. It’s actually having to see all the oil and eggs (depending on your recipe) used in the process. For me at least, doing that, has made it unlikely that I’ll fry chicken every day, or even every week.