I love to cook. For me, cooking is meditation in motion. I get lost in the rhythm of chopping, slicing, stirring, tossing. It offers me the chance to slow down and decompress after a day of juggling faculty requests, visitors popping in and out of the office for various business and non-business needs. (I am a provider of chocolate and a listening ear when folks are having a rough day.) It’s my respite before I dive into my evening filled with homework and writing, or relaxing.
Cooking is also my way of showing love for the people that I care about. I want to feed you, my darlings! I want to fill you up with delicious and nourishing food stuffs! And I’m getting pretty good at it. I’m no culinary wonder, but I can put on a mouth-watering spread.
All of this has led to an unexpected development; rarely do I enjoy eating out anymore. For me, eating out is an experience, not a need to be fed. When I go out to eat, I want to taste something unusual, something that I can’t or would be hard-pressed to create at home. As my culinary strengths grow, this task is getting more expensive and harder to find. Steak? I have never had a steak in a restaurant that compares to the steak I can make with my sous-vide setup and my cast iron skillet. Pizza? Oh come on, everyone knows homemade pizza dough and fresh mozzarella beat anything that comes from your local pizza place. The list goes on. I often finish a meal and think, that was good, but I would have done this differently, or that was overdone, or whatever.
Think about it this way, the last time you got breakfast at a restaurant, how was the toast? Now, think about a piece of toast you made at home, toasted to the exact browness you like and slathered with as much or as little butter as you want. Perfect. In my desire to live more simply I am finding more comfort and satisfaction in the things I do with my own hands.
I still love to go out to eat, and I still have nights where ordering in is just more convenient. For the most part, I am learning that when I want a complete meal, as in one that comes with a side of satisfaction and pride, there’s no place like home.