Friday, June 11, 2010

Why I Love to Cook

I know I'm supposed to be posting about bread, but that will take a lot of time that I don't have available until tomorrow, and I've been thinking about this subject today. Maybe because I'm blogging again, maybe because I've baked yesterday and today, but for some reason I want to gush about the joy of being in the kitchen.

I'm fully aware that cooking isn't for everyone. I try to make my recipes easy to follow and appealing for people who like food but fear cooking. This is one of the things I really enjoy about blogging. I have a firm belief that everyone with decent (average) taste buds should have the opportunity to eat really good food, and really good food isn't always hard to make. (Some of it is, and some of it is way beyond me; I'm okay with that...that's what restaurants and invitations to friends' houses for dinner are for.) I love getting comments from people that have followed my recipe and found that it works well for them. I actually get loads (and by loads, I mean well above a dozen) of google hits everyday from people searching for recipes like M&M cake (maybe there aren't many out there?), canned salsa (try googling "canned salsa"), bacon chipotle potato salad, Puerto Rican flan (because I'm very Puerto Rican...see my picture in the left column), and others. A lot of Guittard chocolate interest. Shocking that I'd come up on those searches.

Anyhow, I'm tickled pink that I can help people find recipes they're looking for. Recipes that I trust and try and love and want to share. See how I get all gushy just thinking about it? I know it won't change the world for everyone to eat good food, except it might. Seriously, don't you think it could? Well, we don't have to discuss that.

Now that I've gone on and on about why I love to blog about food, I really should tell you what I said I would. Why I love to make good food. That's easy. It makes me giddy to cook something perfectly delicious. I love the way flavors complement each other in a dish or dessert. I love the way salt brings out deeper flavors like chocolate or beef. I love the way sugar can complement salt, especially when you have a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and acid. Like in pie crust. Or mole.

I love the way a good bread rises just right and forms a good crust. I love knowing that almonds have toasted perfectly in the oven by just starting to smell them two rooms away. I love seeing chocolate chunk cookies come out of the oven just medium golden, knowing they're not going to fall but they'll still be chewy in the center.

I love the char on a good grilled steak, and the way a smoky grill or rosemary improves the flavor of lamb. I love learning more about flavor combinations, especially with herbs, like mint and nectarines, or tarragon and lots of things I've never tried with tarragon yet but should. I love the combination of flavors in Mexican cuisine, the way food can taste bright and alluring in the heart of winter.

Learning new techniques and improving them makes me feel accomplished and pleased, like when I understood laminated dough and made really good croissants and kouign amann. Or understanding sourdough, as I read my cookbooks cover-to-cover like the textbooks they're intended to be (the ones I like best, anyhow).

I love cooking with my kids. Cooking is like a great science experiment with the best results, since you get to eat them. I love that aspect, and my kids do, too. Spending time with them in the kitchen can be hilarious and happy.

And after I make something really delicious, I love to give it away. To my family, to the neighbors, to friends, to Mark's coworkers, to anyone I want to show that I care.

I seriously love cooking.


Sarah Metcalf said...

I love this post, Rachel. The Metcalf family (you and Seth in particular) has made a very personal impact on my love of cooking and good food.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

I just drooled all over my keyboard while reading the post and THINKING about all those wonderful goodies!