I spent last week in pretty Portland, Oregon for the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference, an annual gathering of about 1,000 food writers, chefs, farmers and policy makers. From the unknown heroes of school lunch reform to Ruth Reichl, they were all there, and how very lovely it wass to be with so many people who care about the way the world eats.
During the week, I struck up a conversation with Laurie Buckle of Fine Cooking Magazine about what it is we're talking about when we're talking about food. For some, it's just the eating. But for me, it is that act of cooking that is so rich.
In honor of Three Square Meals Month (we're finishing up this week with dessert theme) here at TheKitchn.com, I started asking people here one question: What excites you about cooking?
"Anytime I have the opportunity to cook with other people. Cooking and visiting: that's divine multi-tasking."
Amelia Saltsman, Writer, The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook
"It's about going into an empty kitchen, turning on something loud and trashy on Pandora, like RuPaul, strapping on an apron and feeling like I don't want anyone near until I'm done."
Daniel Kohler, Host, Renegade Kitchen
"I love it when my son, who is eleven, joins me in the kitchen and asks if he can make the marinade or adjust the seasonings. It brings me great pleasure to cook together in the kitchen, chatting while we work side-by-side."
Sarah Henry, Writer, LettuceEatKale.com
"When whatever I'm cooking is so appealing that my kids want to jump in and help me, that's my joy."
Melanie Barsuk, Chef, Cooking Instructor SimpleGourmet.com
"When I'm cooking and my husband Larry give me an mm-mm-mm-mm-mm, that is validation."
Patti Londre, Blogger WorthTheWhisk.com
"The comfort of cooking after spending the day on the less pleasant parts of my work, I go in the kitchen and it's 'ahhhhh, here's something I know how to do. I know what to do with that carrot to make it taste really good.' There is comfort and also joy in knowing what I'm doing."
Ginny Mahar, Food Writer and Chef
"Having a sharp knife and knowing how to use it."
Kathleen Donovan, Public Relations, Cutco Cutlery
"If you like life, you like eating, you like cooking. Food is an expression of that. Why am I inviting people over to eat? It's to give them something. It's the most authentic expression of who we are."
Kamal Mouzawak, Founder, Souk el Tayeb (Lebanon's first farmers market),
"I love grabbing my wooden cutting board, my favorite knife, and flipping on NPR. Hearing 'I'm Terry Gross, and this is Frrrrrrrrrresh Air' means my dinner prep has officially begun."
Cheryl Sternman Rule, Writer, 5 Second Rule
Tell us about the little treasures that make cooking your dinner a joy.