I like to cook. It is an activity that ticks lots of boxes.
- It’s a great hobby for people who work from home a lot and have a hard time switching off. I have to eat so I can justify taking a break to cook.
- Mostly, it does not require 100% of my attention and because it takes place in stages, I can do something else at the same time. I can chat with a friend thanks to my magic earpiece or talk with my son about his day. Sometimes I catch up with a bit of Masterchef on the iPlayer.
- It saves me from constant back pain. Over the past 5 years, I have noticed that if I spend more than 3 consecutive hours at the computer my back aches. Everything slows down, I want to be somewhere else. When I cook I am on my feet. I dart around the kitchen, I climp up and down ladders, I stretch up to top shelves and I squat down to peer at cakes through the oven door. I scrub, quite vigorously, and roll and knead and chop and peel. Sometimes I can get quite hot and flushed. Being in constant motion and using different muscles in my body in lots of ways means that the blood is pumping through me and this prevents and relieves back pain. I am a happier, more pleasant, more productive person when I am without back pain. So cooking is good.
- After much reading, experimenting, debating and blog following, I can safely say that eating meals that I have cooked myself, from scratch, with as many fresh, natural products as I can find and afford is part of my Healthy Eating Definition. So cooking is is a way to eat the way I want to be eating.
- I like the end product. My cooking is nearly always tastier than the shop bought version. I like food, I like fresh, vibrant flavours and want my taste buds to sing. Processed food just doesn’t do that. Good food brings me joy. And joy is a good thing. A very good thing.
- I learn new stuff all the time. New techniques new ingredients, new concepts and schools of thought about what we eat and how we make that decision. And with wisdom comes power, the power to make choices. When I feel powerful and in charge of my life, when I feel that I am making choices, I am happy. And happiness is a good thing. A very good thing.
It is this last aspect of cooking which I was reminded of the other day. Quite by chance I happened to be in the car when Radio Four aired a 15 minute talk by Angela Saini as part of the Four Thought series (a sort of Ted Talks for radio). Saini is a witty and engaging technology and science journalist and although she wasn’t specifically talking about cooking, a few things she said reminded me that picking up a frying pan can be something of a political statement.
It made me think that cooking, which is also in the realm of making and crafting can be subversive. When I am in the kitchen, I’m doing my bit to stick my two fingers up at consumerism. When I cook, when I make meals from scratch I am not letting a food manufacturer tell me what a dish should look or taste like. When I experiment in the kitchen, I’m not letting anyone dictate portion size or ingredients, nobody is telling me how much or what to eat. When I make things to eat I don’t have to compromise on quality for the benefit of profit or to pay for multimillion advertising campaigns. When I eat food that doesn’t come in packaging I choose what goes in and what doesn’t, the ingredient list is short. When I cook, the food is mine and I can do as I please. I am in charge. And that is a good thing. When I am cooking as the Kitchen Fairy and showing other women how to make food I am doing a bit of grass roots politics and taking the battle out of the supermarkets and into the kitchens. The more women I can inspire to pick up a frying pan, the more powerful we become. And the more powerful we become, the better 🙂
Are there any other political cooks out there who want to join in the frying pan movement?