This Is Why I Cook

(Finn teaching his dog how to crack an egg.)

Food, friends, family and Finn. When I reflect on what has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine this year, that’s it. Food, itself, has so often been at the core of the joyful moments with people I love, that it is inseparable.

I wrote this piece below for the NYTimes but they did not run it, so you, my dear loyal readers are the first to see it ….

This Is Why I Cook

He had me at “trout”.   I still remember the dinner even though it was five years ago. I remember the dinner even better than I remember him, because we were never a great fit and I knew I would never marry him but I was in love with his love of cooking. I was in love with our compatibility in the kitchen. I was in love with how confidently he navigated the spice aisle at Fairway and his ability to deglaze a pan.

That night he made us a smoked trout dip which we spooned onto pieces of baguette that we casually pulled off as we leaned into the side of the kitchen counter and sipped wine. The salmon was marinating and the thin asparagus was about to be sautéed with shallots and garlic. He wore a white apron and tucked a small towel into the apron strings the way chefs do.  I was not only in love with him because he loved cooking for me and letting me, for once, play the supporting role, but I was seduced by how he held a knife, letting it  bounce across the cutting board. He would chop without looking, glancing up at me as his blade desecrated the garlic.

We broke up two months after that dinner – our final supper was roast chicken. We came together over our love of cooking and that’s what kept us together for six months, but it turns out you need more than a shared passion for pink Himalayan salt to make a relationship work.

But I get why I fell for this man who ground his own spices. One of my happiest memories of childhood is standing at the kitchen counter making coconut cake with my mother and going to the farmers market on Saturday mornings with my father. There was so much love that I felt around food, so much excitement, so much anticipation of what we might make with a cup of flour.  I still love the sound of a dishwasher at the end of a day – the contented purr that signals the end of a home cooked meal, empty plates and full stomachs.

I cook all of Finn’s (my 20 mos-old) food and much of it we cook together. When he wakes, his second word every morning (after Mama) is oatmeal. We trundle off to the kitchen, he drags the pot from the cupboard, hands it to me, climbs up on the step stool, stands at the counter and pours the little tin cup of oatmeal, that I hand him, into the pot. I add the water and salt and we put it on the stove. The buzzer goes off after 6 minutes. He adds the cinnamon, ground flax, honey and pear. We blow on it as it cools. And then we eat. Together.  And I am in love.

 

 

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  • Janel

    This post makes me so happy. My 7 month old is now getting into solid food SO WELL and it makes my heart sing. I actually have a really hard time with him growing up – I’m loving this stage and actually get sad when I see how fast it goes – but that picture of Finn cracking an egg actually gets me really excited for the days ahead when I can cook with my baby boy and share my joys of food with him. Thank you!

    • http://www.thesweetbeet.com Michelle Madden

      Oh I know….Finn has now starting requesting — “Mama sit” — if ever he is eating and I am puttering about the kitchen. This is just the beginning of a lifetime of us sitting down to share meals and I can’t wait …

  • machita

    nice story, what does the Times know about the love of a mother!!!

  • Ivana Love Coach

    The Times missed out. xO

  • yolanda

    awwww!!! this is beautiful!

  • ellie

    The NYT needs a new food editor!

  • qeby21

    Thanks for sharing.ルイヴィトン靴