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.
But it's not just the experience of the event I enjoy. It's everything behind-the-scenes as well — the fragrance of garlic, the crackle from the skillet, and the sight of a perfectly roasted bird coming out from the oven. Cooking speaks to all of my senses. It's a joy I'm so proud to know, even when it's just my wife and me, and a good bottle of wine ... perhaps especially then.
Tell me: what about cooking do you enjoy most?
(Images: Chris Perez)