Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why do I cook?

I am, of late, addicted to Twitter. It's not about the social aspects or the business building part (though both are captivating to me). It is all about checking my Foodie List. It gives me a dose of foodie news I can get no where else.

I wake to the poetic musings of Ruth Reichl describing her breakfast - 140 character love haiku. I am prone to snicker a bit during the day reading Gesine Bullock Prado's snarkiness. And I cheer out loud at each of Jamie Oliver's victories in bringing attention to the critical issues surrounding healthy eating and teaching children about food.

I've made new "friends" following Paige Orloff and Kim Severson, a fantastic journalist and foodie. When Kim announced the release of her new book, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, I jumped on Amazon to order it. Something about the title struck a cord.

And today Kim's tweets pointed me to a fantastic article in the Toronto Globe and Mail about Cooking as Therapy. This did more than strike a cord. It answers the long-standing question of why I cook. It isn't a hobby for me. It is a necessity, a compulsion, a creative outlet, a healing act. It is my chance to mother to nurture and to gather a flock.

From the article:
Leading food psychologist Dr. Brian Wansink, head of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, has studied “nutritional gatekeepers” or influential cooks. He found that of the five main types of cooks, three use cooking to get through rough patches.

Sometimes, making food is a means of creative expression, or they prepare food to compete with or get affirmation from others. There are “giving cooks” who cook to please. “When you cook for others, you’re saying you care they are well fed and healthy, which is something you just don’t get from doing other things,” he says.

Dr. Christine Courbasson, head of the eating disorders and addiction clinic at the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says she’s seen patients who cook to relieve stress or free their minds from worry. “Some of them fill a void or find that it’s a way of numbing. You also have to be mindful of the activity because you don’t want to chop your finger off.”

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