Do you love to Cook or Eat?

Most of us might at first lump ourselves into one category or another. Asking myself that same question evokes a somewhat uncomfortable churning in the pit of my stomach. It's a torturous proposition to think I might have to choose.

On one hand, I love the idea of just showing up at the table to a fabulous meal. I consider it a gift to have be served a meal by another. When I sit with friends, it’s not as much about the food. {although it certainly is preferred!}. It’s more about the celebration of the eating and being with people I enjoy. The same holds true when I think about some of my fondest childhood food memories. They don’t usually include extraordinary food. The meal is more remembered for its tradition, celebration or comfort. I always appreciate eating a good meal, but sometimes, a meal that matters is more about our food memories than our tastes.

Eating out is a whole other affair. I have my local neighborhood favorites that may not all be the definition of gourmet, but everything about the eating experience is just right. It usually involves a chilled cocktail, a few tasty appetizers, and a waiter who knows how to help us unwind after a long day’s work. If I am paying good money for food, I expect to eat well. Whether it is a simple meal or an elegant affair, I want the food to taste good. What each of us defines as “good” may vary, but I think we can all agree that processed foods do not fall into that category. It takes restraint and an appreciation for high quality ingredients to create food that tastes good. Simple is best in my book. If I feel like I can cook it better myself at home, chances are, I probably will. But when I find a few favorite places that consistently cook all the things I love to eat, then I am a loyal foodie fan forever. So, the choice is clear, whether simple or sublime, I love to eat.

On the other hand….. I love to cook. For me, cooking is as much about nurturing as it is about nourishing. I am not talking about putting food on the table to feed a family of nine three times a day, like my mother did. She always fed us well, but I am sure there were days when peeling another five pound bag of potatoes might just send her over the edge. No, I am talking about cooking for the love of it. I relish the process of cooking. It is like meditation, except the practice is in the kitchen instead of on the cushion. Cooking requires we put our attention to what is in front of us. It helps me slow down from my otherwise frenetic pace. When I am truly present, cooking can be a holy experience.

If I couldn’t cook, I would be utterly jealous of others and completely frustrated about eating . Shopping the farmer’s market would be mostly meaningless if I couldn’t come home and cook up something with the inspiring ingredients. How could I write recipes if I didn’t cook? There is no substitute for creating it in the kitchen. Any idea I have about a recipe usually changes once I get cooking, so going through that process is essential. Most of my best recipes are created from cooking in my everyday life.

Improvisation is part of the fun and creative process. It ‘s like iron chef meets Food Network, without the insane time constraints and a table of judges waiting at the table to critique the creations. I am quick in the kitchen, but I don’t want to be rushed. Like any creative craft, it takes time to let ideas evolve into the final work of art. I still wouldn’t dare call myself anything other than an inspired cook. But one thing I know for sure- my love of cooking has always been a part of my life. So, there you have it, I love to cook.

Now, let’s revisit the question of cooking or eating? It’s tougher to choose than I thought. Thankfully, we don’t have to choose. We can enjoy the joy of cooking and appreciate the art of eating. This is making me hungry. Time to go cook something to eat.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2009 Alisa Barry


Pam Brown said...

I happen to love your products. I have seen them at trade shows and think they are beautiful and classic. Keep up the good work.

Alisa Barry said...


Thank you, Thank you!!!

Amy said...

Just came across your blog, it is lovely!

I enjoy cooking often and loved your line about cooking being about nurturing as much as nourishing. I am young and single and I think a lot of my friends assume they'll learn to cook or start cooking once they HAVE to when they have families, but I enjoy it and find it so relaxing that I'll cook for anyone willing to try my latest kitchen attempts.

Alisa Barry said...


how wonderful! so glad you found my blog and are enjoying cooking. Please feel free to share any of your favorite cooking ideas + recipes.

buon appetito!

sharon said...

hi alisa - first off, i love your blog, and i like to have the time to read and enjoy it, so thats why i am still in november:) that said, like you, i also love to cook but, i do love to eat. most times, and for most meals, i think i do a better job of making it. i used to go out all the time and while i did enjoy it, love it even, now, i am most content and get the most joy from cooking at home. thoughtful preparation, planning and fresh ingredients, as you point out, are the keys to awesome home meals. while not necessarily gourmet, cooking at home is my way of showing family and friends love. (plus i love cooking to relax!) when someone complements my cooking, i say, "its because i cook with love - for you". this was a great post and once again, thank you for taking the time to allow us readers to think and ultimately say what (we) love best about food. cheers! sharon