Monday, April 20, 2009

Food......for the Love of it!

Maybe I'm lucky, but I learned how to cook from a young age and spent almost twenty years in the business before getting out. I would probably still be doing it except I discovered week ends. Oh.............and golf. Who knew? Don't get me wrong, it's something I enjoy, passionately. I would have to be pretty hard pressed for time to fall back onto the frozen food bandwagon. To me, there is nothing more enticing than the aroma of fresh herbs and spices simmering in a pot, or roasting in an oven of whatever I decide to create. I also have many friends who invite me over knowing full well that their kitchen, will temporarily, become my kitchen. And, we are both getting something out of it.

A couple of things come to mind as I am writing this. Remember when it was a luxury to go out to dinner to some ritzy place with inflated prices; to be served food portioned out like it was the last you would ever see. And then, after digesting the bill and washing it down with a final gulp of overpriced wine, wonder what all the fuss was about. Nowadays, or so it seems, things are reversed. It has become a luxury to create a home cooked meal.

Why? Have we stretched ourselves so thin in our day to day lives that a home cooked meal had to be sacrificed in order to fit everything in? Has it become too much of a chore to create and clean up after the fact? Or is it just because we don't know how and can't be bothered to learn or to even try? A lot of questions....I know. Don't get me wrong, this is not a criticism, it's an observation from what I have seen as I do my own grocery's and witness what a lot of people are putting in their shopping carts.

Just the packaging from the frozen food containers is mind boggling never mind what they are going to ingest. Where's the flavour? Where's the adventure? I know there are people who do enjoy cooking and creating just for the sheer pleasure of it. While blog hopping, I came by one post of a woman who spent the better part of her day creating a number of jars of homemade Salsa. Fantastic! I am sure, that every time she and her family open a jar of that sauce, the memory of the labour of love that went into it will have all been worth it.

The summer months offer us more of an opportunity to do some at home cooking. Those with BBQ's seem to find a little more creativity when they cook outdoors. Let's face it, if you have the room outside, you may as well move the kitchen out there too! There probably isn't anything I haven't cooked out there, including breakfast. You wanna wake your cottage neighbours up, start frying bacon outside. You can hear their lips smacking.

Another thing I have noticed is during the harvesting season. We have a fantastic Farmer's Market in St. Jacob's. Just a stones throw away. It's a Mennonite community with huge numbers of farmers bringing their crops of every description to market. Beets, pickles, corn, carrots and potatoes just to name a few. But, more people will will plunk down hard earned money to buy one jar of pickles instead of buying a basket of them and making about a dozen jars of their own! I don't know, maybe it's just me. But, anytime I can control what is going into what I am eventually going to eat, then I want to be a part of it.

Cooking isn't Rocket Science. But it does take a little bit of patience and practice. And of course, it won't always turn out right every time. What does? The point is, it's an adventure in creativity. Of enticing your palette with new flavours and of awakening your olfactory senses to the aromas of simmering soups and stews. Of trying fresh herbs and spices instead of that sawdust they put in jars. And if you are really adventurous, try baking your own bread or pizza dough. The satisfaction you will get when your family and friends push themselves away from the table satisfied will be priceless.


Natalie said...

What a wonderful post! I LOVE to experiment and create in the kitchen. I very rarely follow a recipe, and just enjoy throwing things together. I think you have to be a little intuitive to get flavours right first time, though how much fun is it to whack stuff together and see what happens.
Good for you Bogey. :D

Bogey said...

Hi Natalie, I have to have a little laugh here because while you were commenting here, I was commenting on your recent post. And only what, 12 hours difference! Thanks for the boost. Cooking is great fun especially when you can share your creations.