The joke in our household is that before I met my husband, my CD collection consisted only of Christmas music and my cooking repertoire was confined to a basic recipe for quesadillas. And while my husband likes to exaggerate the direness of my situation before I met him, these particular facts are, unfortunately, more truth than fiction.
Yes, I learned to cook from my husband. How very modern of us, right?
He started out cooking for me, and when he figured he’d impressed me sufficiently, we started cooking together. Before I knew it, I knew my way around the kitchen. First it was the basics: chopping an onion without chopping off my fingers, making fluffy scrambled eggs and properly dressing a delicious salad. As our relationship progressed, so did my skills. A spring risotto, a darned-good roasted chicken and some go-to soups and sauces joined the repertoire. Eleven years later I’m still no master chef – just an average home cook, really – but I’m happily not limited by what can be piled atop a tortilla.
I often say that food had a vital role in changing my life. Cooking led to courtship, and courtship led to marriage and a kid (it’s a fact they don’t teach you in Health class: babies come from spending too much time in the kitchen!!). And while of course finding my life mate and the father of my child is one of the biggest life changes I’ve experienced, I’ve seen many other positive smaller transformations from learning to cook as well.
Learning to cook tuned me into the health consequences – both good and bad – of what I ate. It made me think about the provenance of my food, and it revealed to me the social pleasures of sharing a meal that I’ve made with people I love. And over time cooking has become my own little stand against our culture of processed food. Every time I whip up a batch of pesto or hand-roll my own meatballs, I’m saying no a system that as a whole undervalues health – mine, my family’s and our fragile environment’s.
I think that’s why I love what I do at Earthbound so much. Thirty years ago, the company was born out of the belief that changing our relationship with food could change the world. In fact, it’s part of our mission: to “serve as a catalyst for positive change.” In managing consumer insights for Earthbound, I have the pleasure of talking with consumers who’ve experienced that positive change first-hand, whether understanding and experiencing the benefits of organic food or simply eating a little more produce because our products made it easier for them to do so. With every consumer survey, interview or home visit, I’m more convinced of the transformational power of food and particularly of getting hands-on with it in your own kitchen.
So what are you waiting for? Crank up some Christmas tunes – or whatever your guilty pleasure just happens to be – and get cooking. It might just change your life. Or at the very least, your perspective.
Readers: Have you had a transformational experience in the kitchen? Tell me about it! Those are just the kind of stories I love to hear.