The Bright Side: Home cooked

Published 2:37 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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My fiancé and I have come to a mutual agreement, where if I do the cooking, he does the laundry. (I know, I am blessed!) Laundry is my least favorite chore, not so much the washing/drying part, but more the folding, hanging and putting away part. I’d much rather spend hours in the kitchen preparing a meal, whereas Eric would much rather separate whites from colors than spend 40 minutes chopping an onion. It’s worked out well for us, doing the daily task the other person would rather not.

Cooking has always been fun for me. I remember watching Emeril Lagasse cook on TV when I was young; his show would come on later in the evening, and I would watch in awe of how effortlessly he turned simple ingredients into a mouth-watering meal. It piqued my interest, making something so many people would enjoy.

My mom always cooked homemade dinner and the four of us would sit at the dinner table every evening, despite our busy schedules, and take an hour to eat together. On the weekends, my dad would make us breakfast – omelets, pancakes, French toast, eggs over easy – you name it, he’d make it. I enjoyed his company, as he worked 9-5 in the city throughout the week and traveled often when I was young. I realized that food not only satisfied my hunger, but helped to keep my heart full, too.

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The task may seem tedious to some, and I’ll be the first to admit that there are nights when ordering a pizza sounds like music to my ears. However, cooking allows me to focus on doing something good for myself and someone else. It takes my mind off of the stress from the work day and allows me to instead put my time and energy into something that I am proud of.

Eric and I will exchange videos of new recipes to try throughout the week, something we both get excited about. And lately I’ve come across recipe ingredients I’ve never heard of, but am amazed they carry locally. It’s almost like a mini scavenger hunt when I go to the grocery store in search of something new, like xanthan gum or tahini. My recipe book is now filled to the brim, and yet there are so many new dinners I have yet to attempt to make.

All the while, I’m slowly realizing that food has connected me to people all my life. And the love that I put into making food, whether the meal itself turns out well or not, has helped me to appreciate the time spent sharing it with someone else. I understand now why I enjoyed watching Emeril so much; you could tell he really loved to cook, and that showed when audience members would taste his food during his live shows – their smiles said it all.

I think food nourishes both the body and the soul. Perhaps that’s why I never pass up the opportunity to create the finished product myself, as it’s both the process and final product that keeps me full. And despite how busy our lives are, we always make time to sit down for an hour at the dinner table and talk about our days. A tradition I will keep alive and hold close to heart.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at