Cooking with Chef Lia
Written by Lia Soscia for Greenlight Long Island Magazine
It's interesting really, all the reasons I can come up with as to why we cook. In ancient times, people cooked to survive. Would you eat raw buffalo? How determined they were to create a fire by rubbing two sticks together and making contraptions to create a spit to roast the catch of the day. Back in those days, cooking was a full-time job just to get a single meal on the table (did they even have tables?). If I had similar circumstances, surely that is to have to live without my 101 kitchen gadgets. Yes, they call me "gadget girl." In fact, I get kitchen appliances as birthday, holiday, and even anniversary gifts from my husband each year. My girlfriend yells at him each time. But truly, I asked for these gifts... he wasn't TRYING to keep me in the kitchen! I don't do diamonds unless they come in a knife sharpener or something similar. But I digress...
Why else do we cook? Some say they cook to impress others. If you prepare a meal during courtship, your significant other is sure to be swooned by your culinary skills. I remember when I was dating my husband he would invite me to his house for an authentic Chinese dinner. He would cut up all the vegetables perfectly, create his marinade, and toss everything in his newly purchased wok. How impressed I was! You don't only get to a man through his stomach. He certainly got to me by demonstrating his cooking skills, and in doing so created my image of the perfect husband.
Here's the basic reason why we cook: we need to eat. We also want to be sure we know what our families are eating and that it is healthy. Sure, we can go out to eat at a local fast-food establishment or restaurant, but do you really know what you are getting? Is it really nutritious and healthy? Obesity is becoming one of the major reasons for premature death. If cooking for ourselves to assure a healthier life isn't reason enough to do it, then I don't know what is.
Although there are many more reasons why people cook, I would like to point out why I believe we "should" cook.
Cooking is a great way to demonstrate how much we care about those we serve. There is a great amount of satisfaction you get when you know your efforts are appreciated. You also eat healthier and get to spend more time with the family around the dinner table to talk about the day's events. Studies have shown that families who regularly cook and eat together have happier marriages, improved children's health, and stronger family ties. Taking time to plan, shop and create a well-rounded, healthy meal is the greatest demonstration of love and devotion. Although I find the unending list of tasks associated with preparing daily meals somewhat daunting at times, I truly enjoy the process. And if I hear, "Gee Mom this is really good," after that first taste... Wow, how great it feels to know the fruits (no pun intended) of my labor are appreciated and that my family is gaining profound benefits.
Positive feedback from those you cook for can provide you with a "can-do" cooking attitude. My grandmother was a constant source of feedback for my culinary creations when I was young, which is how I think I got hooked on cooking for others. Once you begin to get that kind of feedback, it's addictive. You start to challenge yourself by creating even more complex creations time and again. The more they like what you cook, the more you cook. It's really hard not to want to hear positive comments on each and every dish. Not surprisingly, this makes one want to try harder to please. You see where I'm going with this? And, if you know they are really eating well and enjoying these culinary moments, you know you did your best to thwart the bad diet demons.
If you don't already cook or perhaps you only cook occasionally, you probably haven't felt the amazing sense of gratification it brings. Today, many of us are time-starved and therefore the best we can do is grab the phone and order take-out. Next time, before you think about ordering that mystery food, realize that many recipes today can be completed in 30 minutes or less and that they taste much better! There are many cookbooks, magazines and TV shows to prove it. Simply browse your favorite on-line bookstore or recipe website and I'm sure you will find a gazillion books with 30 minutes in the title.
I know that once you hear the "oohs and aaaahs," you too will begin to get hooked on cooking. You will start to realize that cooking can be a pleasure as well as a necessary part of our day.
Chef Lia Soscia is a personal chef and owner of Home Cooking Consultant Personal Chef Services on Long Island. She has been cooking for almost 30 years for friends and family. Lia's Personal Chef Services include home meal preparation, cooking lessons & parties, recipe research and more.
If you have any questions or need help finding recipes to suit your schedule, please visit Chef Lia at www.ChefLia.com or write her at Lia@ChefLia.com. She looks forward to hearing your comments and questions. And continue to check back for more "Cooking With Chef Lia," only in Greenlight Long Island Magazine.
But I say it’s worth the risk. I once heard a great marketer say you should work On your business and not In it.
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