Food is magical. It is medicinal – a literal purveyor of life and healer of the ailing. It is a fanciful shape-shifter that transforms in color, texture, taste, and smell. It is a captivating work of art, a dazzling portrait to feast your eyes upon. It is an adhesive that brings people together in the best of times and the worst. And it is the history of a family’s love and cherished memories through generations.
I remember hovering around my mom in the kitchen while she was cooking. I was enamored. The smell of garlic and onions wafting through the air; the colors of the crisp, clean vegetables that my eyes soaked up, like skin soaks up the rays of the sun; my mother fluttering from cutting board to stove with the finesse of a dancer in perfect rhythm. It sent invigorating jolts of life through me, and I wanted to learn all I could about this magic my mother was making.
I cook because I love food. I like to cook for myself because I like working with my hands, and I appreciate knowing exactly what is going into my body. I enjoy the feeling of creating something useful on my own, and I find it comforting to know the ingredients in my food are fresh and natural. But I mostly love to cook for others. I derive great pleasure from seeing others enjoying the food I’ve made, and I love to share food that makes people happy.
Beyond all of this, though, cooking is a form of therapy to me. Julia Child once said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” This sentiment really resonates with me because through all the uncertainties and fears that riddle my life as a 20-something, recent graduate and new member of what we call the “real world,” cooking is the force that never fails to keep me grounded when my head is up in the clouds.
When I feel the stress of work, or something in my personal life has got me down, I turn to cooking. The cooking process brings a sense of needed structure to my messy life, when my thoughts and feelings are jumbled and difficult to understand. Although my mind may be running at full speed in every direction, focusing on the task at hand helps me to slow down and regain my sense of presence. When I engage my hands in a craft, my fingertips become the outlet from which I release my negative energy. It’s as if my negativity is a lump of clay, with no value in beauty or function, but as I work it into shape, it gains structure and meaning. My healing takes physical form in the foods that I produce.
The kitchen is a place to be productive and creative. Whether I’m warming my chilly toes with a comforting casserole or stew in the winter, traveling vicariously through the vibrant flavors of the world’s rich cultures, indulging my fantasies by diving into a decadent chocolate soufflé, or empowering my body and mind with a wholesome salad, the harvest of my kitchen is meant to be savored and enjoyed.
I happily share my passion and my love of food, sweet and savory, and I welcome you to come and enjoy the process of cooking and baking real, good food in my Whimsy Kitchen.