Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why I Cook


I'm divorced, a single dad with half-time custody, and I've been running a household solo for nearly ten years. I figured learning how to cook was a necessity. I had a bit of a head-start, since my ex was Italian and from a family of great cooks. I learned the ins and outs of la cucina italiana directly from the source. (You don't throw spaghetti on the wall to see if it's done!) My Italian-style carrots that I learned from them are to die for. My ex-mother-in-law also taught me how to cook beets, plus a zillion different ways to serve pasta.

One single buddy of mine won't cook on a nightly basis. He'll heat up a can of chili, or microwave some Lean Cuisine, but most often he'll take his hard-earned cash and go spend it in a restaurant.

Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, if you have the money. But there's more to cooking for yourself than saving a buck.

First off, it can be healthier to cook for yourself. I get to pick the ingredients, so I know they are healthy and fresh. I can also cut back on butter and salt (important for an aging dad like me.) Plus, some dishes like my marinated grilled asparagus recipe are awesome, and not something I find in many restaurants.

Second, it doesn't have to take very long. I can cook most meals in 30 minutes flat. Heading out to a restaurant takes longer than that. (My grilled chicken marinade recipe needs to be prepped hours in advance; needless to say, I don't cook it every night!) And in those 30 minutes, I can enjoy the cocktail of my choice. Whether that's the best margarita recipe or mai tai recipe depends on my mood, and doesn't cost me ten bucks a pop!

Third, it's a grounding experience. (This part gets touchy-feely, I suppose. I'm in NorCal, baby!) I feel connected to the earth, and to the farmers and suppliers, and to my kids who I cook for. It feels good to create a meal for them. It's nurturing. I get this feeling whether I'm grilling salmon at the BBQ, or cooking chicken and dumplings at the stove.

When I asked my single buddy why he doesn't cook, he said - "I'll cook for company. But it's just not worth the effort to cook for myself."

To which I said - "you're saying you're not worth it?"

Cook. It's good for you.

And if I didn't give you enough recipe pointers here, go buy a cookbook!

19 comments:

Amorous Rocker said...

When I was a kid and young teenager, I swore I would never cook because it seemed like such an annoying task. I moved out and into my own apartment at 18 and suddenly, I didn't know what to do about food. My roommate tried his hand at cooking but he just wasn't much for it so I started trying my hand at it. It turned into something like art for me. I had so much fun experimenting with spices, herbs, flavors and what goes well with what. I absolutely love to cook now, even if it's only for myself (at times it is) and no one else. Though, I do love cooking for other people and watching how they react. Cooking can be so gratifying. Great post!

Athena said...

Wow-- what a great post, and some great recipes too (my honey made chicken and dumplings for me on our first home-dinner-date)

I have always loved to bake and am in incredible baker now, but I have always wanted to become a better cook -- seeing Julie & Julia has inspired me to perfect French cuisine. Good points on nutrition but better points on nurturing the soul :-)

MindyMom said...

A man who can cook is HOT! Even better when he can cook well.

I've always loved to cook and that hasn't stopped just becasue I'm single. My kids don't always appreciate my efforts but they eat better than many and have mature palates because of it. I wish it would stop them form wanting mac & cheese and chicken nuggets though but we can't have it all.

proudpoppa said...

Nice site, looking forward to seeing some good recipe's!

I'm trying to be a daddy blogger as well. Check out my site and please join.

proudpoppa
www.proudtobeapoppa.blogspot.com

Danielle said...

A man that can cook a home cooked meal is very sexy.

ZenMom said...

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

Specialization is for insects."

- Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

Daddy Geek Boy said...

I will always be grateful to my mom for installing in me a love of cooking.

dadshouse said...

ZenMom - I can't butcher a hog or set a bone. Yikes! I'm in trouble!

ZenMom said...

DH: Well, hell, if you can do the rest of that list, I'm still in awe.

Plus, I know you have other talents.

Brandy said...

I love to cook, but I love it more when my man takes charge in the kitchen. Nothing yummier than having a delicious meal served by a delicious man.

Well except for my cakes...nobody can come close to them.

Barry said...

All men should learn to cook. Even the easy stuff. Your recipes look killer. I always kid I would make a great wife....I can cook dinner, sew, do alterations, and do laundry. Now that is a real man! At least I hope!

TentCamper said...

Great post! I love to cook. sometimes I find that Mariah and I come inches from fisticuffs...cuz we both want to cook something. She usually gets something started before I get back from carpools...so many times I lose out.
Regardless...I love to cook and I think every family should cook home made meals at least 5 days a week.

TentCamper said...

Maybe we should all chip in and create a Hot Dads Cookbook!!!

Hubman said...

When I cook, it's 'cause Veronica has to work late. Well, 'cept when I grill, 'cause that's man's work :-)

It's cook or the kiddos go hungry. Can't have that.

Hmm, a Hot Dad's cookbook...

ZenMom said...

Oooh, a Hot Dads' Cookbook? I'd buy that.

Well, no, I wouldn't. But I'd definitely come and look and oooh and aaah at it online for free. ;)

Lex - @laprimera said...

I love a guy that can cook! There's something about cooking that means passion to me. I don't get to cook on a daily basis. But I love to try new recipes and feel so proud when I make something good.

Great post! Will have to try your recipes...

TentCamper said...

what do you think guys????

Each of us write out between 3 and 5 of our favorite/best recepies...That cookbook would fly off the shelves

Q said...

A cookbook? Only if it has full color photos. You could even put in pics of the food, if you want!

Not a soccer mom said...

Now I'm hungry! And I just ate!
thanks a lot!

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