The Art of Cooking

The scent of peaches on the counter is utterly intoxicating. I keep walking through the kitchen just so I can smell it. They are from Amish country in Pennsylvania. They’re not quite ripe yet, bu they keep calling me back to check on them because, very soon, it will be time to hold one over the sink, take a bite, and let the juice drip down.

Indeed, taste is olfactory. We taste first with our noses. This is the reason why I encourage people to smell their food before they eat it. Not only does this practice awaken the salivary glands and prepare the pancreas to secrete the digestive enzymes needed to process our food, it also awakens the pleasure centers in our brain that prime us to enjoy the experience of eating our food.

I have been cooking every day for as long as I can remember. First with my father and my grandmother, then with anyone who would join me. For me, the “joy of cooking” comes both from preparing the food itself and from anticipating the opportunity to sit down and savor it. That’s right. I don’t recommend sitting in front of a computer, driving a car, talking on the phone or walking while eating. It takes the enjoyment out of food.

I love my own cooking, I would eat the food I cook every day for the rest of my life if I could. The only time recently when I have not cooked for myself and others daily was during the first two months of my second pregnancy. I was throwing up, laying down, and eating saltines. It was a miserable time for everyone and a humbling time for me. It helped me realize that yes, I am someone who is passionate about traditional food ways, food justice, and food as medicine.

Above and beyond my passion for food, equity and health, I am a writer. When I started this blog 10 years ago, I was cresting a wave. Now, there are oodles of food blogs out there. Too many, really. Why you choose to read this one is a mysterious and fascinating phenomenon to me. I never would have imagined that this passion for food and writing would persist in this online form, but it has. I trust that I have brought inspiration and joy to others who have tried recipes that I have shared and pondered the role of food in their own lives.

Mastering the Art of Cooking, as Julia Child might say, is about finding your joy. What sparks passion for you? In the end, we can eat food prepared with love using whole, local, pesticide-free ingredients. We can be mindful of how we eat and take action to intervene in a corporate food system that takes the power away from its consumers. However, I know now that the path to longevity and vitality is enjoying this moment. Whether we’re eating a burnt piece of dry toast or boeuf bourguignon, we are eating food, that which sustains us and allows us to walk another day on this earth.

Thank you for reading. Keep cooking and, as always, enjoy your meal.

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