I love Emeril Lagasse.
When he had his show(s) on The Food Network, I caught them whenever I could. He made cooking seem do-able. Sometimes he used some kind of funky ingredients (translation: stuff I can’t find in Fargo, North Dakota), but most often he made honest, homey, stick-to-your ribs types of dishes. His wealth of cooking knowledge, techniques, his humor and his unabashed passion for cooking really spoke to me.
When Emeril was making a recipe that took some time, was a little more complicated or involved, he would admonish the audience, “It’s a food of love thing…..” In other words, “Be patient, it’s worth it.” Over and over, he talked about “food of love” and it set my brain to thinkin’.
I have often said, “You know I like you if I cook for you.” I don’t cook for people I don’t like. Harsh? Maybe, but for me, cooking has always been a food of love thing. I just hadn’t realized it until Emeril talked about it. The way I show people I love them is to feed them; to nourish their bodies and their souls. A little piece of my heart goes into each and every meal I make. Call me crazy (and a lot of people do), but when I am cooking I am thinking about the people who will consume my food. I think, “I hope they like this.” “I hope this turns out good.” I infuse my love for them into every ingredient and preparation step.
Over the years I have learned that there are different flavors of love. WHAT? Ok, now you know for sure I’m nuts. Here’s the thing. My mom, sister and I all have the EXACT same pancake recipe. The crazy part? Mine don’t taste as good as mom’s, and my sister doesn’t think hers taste as good either. This has caused many sleepless nights (ok, maybe not, but definitely a lot of frustration) and accusations of mom hiding some secret, magical ingredient. After discussing it at length with mom and sissy, all we can figure out is that mom’s flavor of love tastes different than ours. Yup, you read that right – the love tastes different. Interesting concept, no?
I’d like to urge you to give the food of love concept a try if you don’t already. Instead of viewing cooking as a chore, try viewing it as a chance to show the people who mean the most to you that you love them. Doesn’t have to be fancy. Doesn’t have to be complicated. Just has to come from your heart.
Until next time, cooking with love,