My adoration for food can appear unusual, unsettling and straight up unrealistic. I relish in dedicating large time slots to scrolling endlessly on food blogs, restaurant websites and recipes. I have very strong opinions about reputable chefs; Nigella Lawson for one is a godsend.
My obsession has spiralled in the recent years now that that I have my own income to spend. Food has surpassed it’s basic and vital function as nourishment to keep alive. It’s a way to heal one’s immune system, to bond with your fellow man, a medium for storytelling, the glue of a nation, and of course, artistic expression. It promises excitement for all experimenters alike whether they’re conjuring a concoction for their Michelin restaurant or their family’s pleasure. The excitement of all vast possibilities has made me smitten over food and I hope once I have enumerated all my reasons, you too, will be galvanised into cookery action.
Food is accessible and simple food can be just as tasty as the convoluted
We do not need fancy equipment to make good food; a pan and fresh ingredients will do just fine. Much of our food stems from peasant food in the 18th and 19th century. Simpler times where global transportation networks weren’t able to import and export ingredients from across the world. Peasants did their best with local ingredients, whether that was vinegar chicken which innovatively covered the taste of rotting meat, or a simple beetroot soup filled with all your winter vegetables (who knew cabbage could be so satisfying). From years, decades and milenia of experimenting, humans were able to craft delicious meals out of their backgardens.
Experimentation and Exploration
I find it exciting to try out new recipes. Searching markets for specific ingredients or buying a seasonal ingredient which heralds the new spring time. Finding substitutions can be equally fun as it reitrates that you can do well with whatever you have at home. However, exploration isn’t just tied to physical spaces, it extends to voyaging through time and history.
I love a dish with a good story. Granted many of these dishes are fictious, I’m still a sucker for a narrative whether that’s General Tso which isn’t really related to the man himself or Napoleon’s Marengo which may or may not be true. Otherwise, particular dishes mean a lot for families that share them. They trigger a special memory that make us reacount the past.
Geeky about technicality
As someone that adores wine, I absolutely want to know what wine suits what platter, whether the acidity absolves fattiness in the foods, what cheese pares well. I want to know all the juicy details which make me appreciate traditions and that people have eaten food in this way for centuries. As someone that is easily bought into the “science” behind food, exploring the technicality of food is plainly put; interesting.
Bond with your fellow man
Living in China where it was difficult to communicate with my fellow man, food did a great deal in making me feel closer to people. It is incredibly intimate to invite people into my home as my Russian friend explained to me many years ago. When my husband makes me a tasty dish at the end of a hard day at work, I love him a little deeper, I take the time to relish the feeling as something I want to cherish. Taking it as a token of our friendship, I find meaning in a dish that a friend has laboured over and I savour it’s every bite. No wonder the French word copain etymologically speaking means the person you break bread with, in other words someone you share a meal with. Similarly, in Asia, I felt a deeper connection to friends when I amicably used the serving utensils to take from their dish and plate my own. Across the world, sharing food with our family, friends and strangers is a way to connect.