Why Cooking Feeds My Soul

982 words | 4 page(s)

As a kid, I would watch my grandmother cook. She could make anything from scratch, such as raviolis, pies, lasagna, and bread. My grandmother also made her own dips, chopping up onions as quickly as her hands could fly. Although she worked fast, she never cut corners. Her house always smelled like food, aromas of basil, butter, and tomato sauce filling her kitchen, the scent hitting you as soon as you walked in the door. Keeping the stomach from growling was almost impossible.

In contrast, my mother did not enjoy cooking as much as my grandmother. While she could make some tasty meatloaf, chicken, and mashed potatoes, it did not taste as good. I would never tell her that, but I preferred my grandmother’s cooking. The awesome part is that my grandmother was not just somebody who would do things herself and not explain how she did something. She would take the time to teach me how to cook, so that I could learn to cook for myself. I appreciated that she was always patient with me, not getting upset when I put too much milk in a dish and laughing when I substituted mint extract for vanilla extract when making cookies because I did not think that it would make a difference.

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I have many sweet memories of cooking with my grandmother. If I had to pick her best dish or specialty, it would have to be her homemade cherry pie, hands down. The cherries were always fresh and the crust was light and flaky, just the way it should be.

“The key to a good crust,” said my grandmother to me one Saturday afternoon, as she was making her famous cherry pie, “is to not handle the dough too much.”

That is a statement that I have never forgotten. To this day, I still take great care in making my pie crusts. Because of my grandmother and her taking the time to teach me how to cook, I am a good cook today. I know how to make many dishes, such as Manicotti, Ravioli with Sundried Tomatoes, Chicken Pesto, Irish Stew, Stir Fry with Shrimp, homemade meatballs, and an awesome Cherry Cheesecake. My grandmother also taught me other things related to cooking besides the basic cooking process.

“A good cook always cleans up after oneself,” my grandmother said to me.
Any time that my grandmother hosted a holiday, she made sure that the whole family got involved in washing and drying the dishes, as well as putting them away. While it did not necessarily thrill me at the time, I developed good cooking ethics. She also stressed the importance of making the dish look appealing to the eye and presentable. That is something that I strive to do when I cook my dishes. If I am making an Italian dish such as stuffed shells, I never just throw a piece of garlic bread on the plate or use a cheap paper plate when serving guests. I make sure that I use nice plates, high quality silverware, and have fancy napkins on the table for company. I want things to look decent for people. You will never get a chipped drinking glass or cracked plate if you eat a meal at my house.

Cooking has also enhanced my life in ways that I did not expect. For me, cooking is also a way that I show people that I care about them. While this can never replace hugging or kissing somebody, having deep conversations, or telling important individuals in my life how much they mean to me, cooking is an easy way that I can show affection for somebody. If a friend comes over to the house, I am usually sending them away with a care package and leftovers. That is just the way that I am.

Because of my grandmother, I also love cooking for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. I get excited making lists of food items for each part of the meal, including appetizers, entrees, and all of the delicious desserts. I also make my own bread. My grandmother was the inspiration behind my desire to start making my own bread.

Last year, my grandmother gave me a bread maker for my birthday. The excitement I felt when I opened it is something that I am almost too embarrassed to express. Until a person eats homemade bread created from a bread maker, that person cannot understand the difference in taste as opposed to store bought processed bread. The bread maker bread is so much fresher and lighter.

A few weeks ago, I invited friends over for some homemade pizzas. A couple of pals said that they had never eaten pizza so delicious My friends raved that my pizzas were not greasy and had somewhat of an artisan feel, a pizza that one would get in a specialty pizza shop in San Francisco, California or Ithaca, New York. However, I did plan my pizza in advance, each one having a particular theme. One pizza had a sundried tomato theme, while the other two were topped with mushrooms, green peppers, and olives. I even created a new type of pizza without cheese, which I decorated with beets, onions, spinach, pine nuts, and olive oil. You could not even tell that the pizza lacked cheese, the vegetable and other toppings giving the pizza a rich, full flavor.

Cooking is a major of who I am, my cooking skills encouraged by my grandmother during my younger years. Through cooking, I can bake healthy meals and show affection for people that I love. Yet, cooking has also allowed me to expand my mind, giving me the opportunity to express my creativity and individuality through food. I am grateful that I had the greatest teacher, who filled me with confidence and passion. Thank you grandma for making me who I am today.

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