Cooking is my passion. I started to learn some basic recipes when I was around 10 years old, mostly by helping my parents in the kitchen. I was given little tasks such as peeling the veggies, slicing the ingredients and sometimes washing the dishes. I also enjoyed watching cooking shows on local TV, such as the Delmonte Kitchenomics cooking segment by Sandy Daza. Since my dad works as a cook abroad, his collection of cookbooks and recipe clippings became my fascination too. I found bliss looking at the gorgeous food photos, reading the unfamiliar words from different cuisines, and reading the procedures.
As I grew up, I gradually learned cooking different dishes from the simple to complex ones. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I know I truly enjoy it a lot. If there is one household skill I am proudly capable of, I know it is cooking! I get weary of doing the laundry or mopping the floor, but not cooking.
While others think of it as a dreadful chore that only fits those with culinary skills, I disagree. It is easy to learn and to love! I’ll be sharing with you the reasons why I love cooking and how you, eventually, can learn it too.
1. It can be a medium to express yourself. It is an art.
It’s an art because it can be done in several ways. The possibilities are endless. You can use your imagination and creativity, play with the ingredients and innovate. It’s also like creating a masterpiece. You can own it and no one can imitate the exact copy of it.
2. It is a love language.
Cooking is one of my primary love languages. I show my love and affection to my loved ones by cooking their favorite dish or learning a recipe for them. It’s pure labor of love so to speak! All the tired arms and legs from prolonged standing are worth it once you see your loved ones satisfied with your cooking.
3. It is a continuous learning process.
From time to time, you’d be surprised by the new things you’d learn. You improve yourself more by making mistakes the first time and correcting yourself the next time. It’s a never-ending process, but it’s fun and fulfilling!
4. It is an effective outlet.
After a tiring, stressful day at work, I find myself rummaging through food items in the grocery lane and thinking of a dish to cook. Then I forget about my problems. I enjoy the food later. It’s a good release of negative vibes!
5. It saves the expenses.
If you know how to cook a special dish, that can save you from those fancy trips at expensive restaurants. You can minimize eating out at fast food chains and rather eat the healthy food you prepared.
6. It can give you extra income.
Need I say more? Big restaurants and catering services started from simple housewives in the kitchen who honed their craft and made it a business.
Learning How to Cook
Believe me, learning how to cook is easy. As long as you have the heart and willingness to learn, you can do it. Here are my basic tips:
1. Learn the basics. Start from the small things.
Study the basic skills first: chopping, sauteing, frying, boiling, etc. Then practice and practice. Everyone starts from scratch so don’t be too intimidated.
2. Ask questions.
Seek help from experienced people you know such as your mom, close friend, grandma, neighbor, colleague or sister. Join forums and pitch in your comments in different social media.
3. Watch video tutorials and read recipes online. Get your own cookbook.
With the prevalence of technology today, there are so many ways to learn anything compared before. You can search recipe tutorials on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, blog sites, Pinterest — practically any social media or internet platform! Before, my dad has to purchase his own cook books and cut recipe clippings from magazines. Now, it’s totally different and much easier! So, no excuses!
4. Change your perspective about it.
Everything starts from your willingness to learn. Be like a sponge — open your mind to absorb anything. Don’t think of it as a dreadful chore, or else you will easily get tired of it.
5. Practice. Practice. Practice.
Apply the theories you’ve learned by doing it. There’s no other way.
Cooking a meal is one of the most personal and intimate things you can do for someone. You’re literally providing plated nourishment made with your own hands and creativity — even if you’re following a recipe, you picked the recipe and planned the meal, didn’t you? As human beings eating is essential, a common bond that connects all races, nationalities, and backgrounds. There’s also something about the primal nature of it that encourages us to relax, let our hair down, and just talk to one another.
The special thing about a home cooked meal is the feeling of abundance it provides, everything you have and need is right in front of you and within arms’ reach. There’s no worrying about what to order, what the bill is going to be, or if you should have another glass of wine. That feeling of freedom is real, and you see it in the smiles of your guests after the meal begins.
Cooking is also a chance to go on a new experience with someone — especially if they share the same passion and joy of food as you. I remember the smoked pork I prepared for a family reunion, the rotisserie chicken I made for friends during a football game, and a meal I cooked with my friend while in Costa Rica. They remember these events too (my dad loves to tell everyone about that pork) and they were special because of the cooking. It feels great to know you provided experience.