Why I cook


"I began cooking because I was hungry, and continued because I loved to eat."

The above is one of cookbook author Michael Ruhlman's reasons for cooking. The reasons might seem obvious, but his answers are a little deeper than a paycheck. I'm taking him up on his suggestion to post my own reasons, since I have been making a point to cook more lately.
  • I cook as a creative outlet. Not my main one--that's this blog--but for variety.
  • I cook to eat a few things better, or maybe just more the way I like it, than any restaurant can make them. No Chinese restaurant stir fries like I do (for better or worse).
  • I cook to eat what I want, when I want it. Sometimes I have a craving for fennel. Or tomatoless chili.
  • I cook because it's cheap, or at least cheaper than restaurants. Aged beef is a lot cheaper at Whole Foods than it is at a steakhouse.
  • I cook because wine is cheaper at home!
  • I cook because then I am never disappointed in the service.
  • I cook to get a sense of challenge and accomplishment without much risk.
I recently embarked on an epic search for game meats: venison, pheasant, rabbit, etc. I ultimately drove 30 miles to an Amish butcher and came up empty. (On the other hand, their smoked kielbasa and pork chops were both excellent.) I really wanted to recreate the gamey flavor that I remember so vividly from the time my dad cooked me a pheasant he'd shot. Game meats in restaurants are almost always from farmed animals, not wild, and they all taste like chicken. But nothing like that seems to be available, short of actually putting on flannel and trudging around with a firearm. Come to think of it, hunting might be a nice way to find some peace and quiet.

Ruhlman happens to live in Cleveland, but that's not why I read him. Sometimes I need a little inspiration, and the commentary and conversational style of a blog post can often help me see myself cooking a particular meal more effectively than can the ultra-edited format of a recipe in a book.