Cooking (even a box of mac n’ cheese ) is a symphony of disciplines. Orchestrating the perfect mix of intellectual, creative and physical elements keeps cooking exciting and fresh – and keeps me coming back to the kitchen.
Feed Your Head
Cooking makes me think; it brings out a little of my inner mad scientist. Just take bread — you’re putting something alive in your concoction! Yeast, a member of the Fungi kingdom, needs food and warmth. That’s where you come in – otherwise you’ll be eating flat bread (that’s another recipe). Honey or sugar, warm milk or warm water, the perfect amount and the perfect temperature will help bring your bread to life.
There are other additional intellectual elements in cooking, such as history. For example, the Web site “How Products Are Made” gives a nice history of marshmallows, which originated from a plant. Yes, a plant. Seriously. Ancient Egyptians combined the sap of marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) with honey to make a sweet treat for the elites. The modern marshmallow can be traced back to 1850s France. For years marshmallows were primarily made in mom-and-pop confectioner’s shops. Thanks to advances in manufacturing, we can now easily stuff ourselves with s’mores.
Sing for Your Supper
Is your food beautiful? If not, it can be! There are tons of ways to fashion a strawberry (and more!) into something fun to use as a tasty garnish. Varying the colors you serve helps, too. In my 4-H days, I learned that one of the keys to an appetizing meal is to include a variety of colors and textures. It’s hard to get visually excited about a menu of squash, ham, carrots and apple juice. All tasty, but not too attractive together. Be creative! Please!
Do the Mashed Potato
Cooking is as much a physical experience as an intellectual or creative one. Stirring, chopping, whisking, and kneading energizes, and definitely beats sitting in front of the television watching someone cook! By the way, according to Calorielab.com, cooking burns up about 102 calories per hour. Cooking is a physical activity, but it doesn’t seem like it – because it’s fun. Sign me up.
When it’s time to cook, my brain goes into overdrive, creative juices flow, and I jump from my position as Couch Commando. I hope that the next time you make macaroni n’ cheese, you think about all of the elements of that neon orange cheese and twisty noodles. You’ll notice a difference. Conscious cooking makes for an inspired cook.
How Products Are Made, “Marshmallows”
CalorieLab.com, “Activity Group: Home Activities”