The tradition of Italian cooking is all about the grandmother, about the matriarch of the kitchen and therefore the family. There is no memory on earth more symbolic of love than the sight of someone’s grandmother making a meal for the people she loves. My grandmother didn’t waste time thinking too much about the tomatoes or the sausages. She simply grew the best, bought the best and made the best meal. Her food became symbolic of love and all other words to describe what she did are inadequate.
Michael Pollan said, “the shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” My grandmother resembles that sentiment. They’re big shoes to fill.
Like my grandmother, I cook because that’s just what I do to take care of myself and my family. My children need proper nutrition to grow healthy brains and bodies and my husband and I need proper nutrition to be healthy and happy. Yes, that’s right, food makes us happy on many levels.
First, sharing food as Pollan suggested creates family and community and being interconnected with others in a positive way will actually support physical and mental health in our bodies. Besides the act of sharing, the quality of the food you eat creates the quality of our bodies and also our minds. I may not have the scientific reports to support my theory but it’s really just common sense.
Think about it. Today we live in a world of abundance with attitudes of lack, we’re overfed but starving for nutrients and the average person eats about 150 pounds of sugar a year. Yikes. Who can have a healthy mind and attitude when, as some experts claim; we’re drowning in the toxins we’re consuming?
But I’m safe from all of this – because I cook. I cook because I know the ingredients I’m using and like my grandmother, I pick the best and make the best. I cook because the quality of my health depends on it. I cook because I’m proud of it. I cook because it makes me happy. I cook because I need to take care of my family. I cook because food creates my community. I cook because it creates family traditions and memories.
Because I cook, I know that good food is not about spending a lot of money. Because I cook, I listen to my body and feed it foods that make me feel good. I cook because it’s the only way to be the healthiest possible version of me.
What about you? Why do you cook? Let me know why.