The Christmas season is always a ripe time for advertising specialty food items. And so it naturally should, since the season has always been associated with cookies, cakes, hot chocolate, egg nog, ham and turkey, stuffing, and numerous other delectables that only generally make an appearance once a year.
And yet, at the same time, I have noticed a truly disturbing trend amongst this advertising. This trend I suppose has been ongoing for the greater part of the last century, but only now has it seemed to truly strike home at the center of our philosophy here on this blog. I speak of advertising which specializes in creating the illusion of the "inconvenience" of cooking.
The reality of this was brought home to me quite rudely one day last week driving home from work. A commercial for a local bakery came on the radio, and the entire ad time was devoted to the portrayal of cooking as a chore akin to slavery, and that was the reason I should let them do all my holiday cooking for me. I was disgusted and disturbed. Is that the way our society really views cooking and food? If so, we are in sorry shape.
Food is one of God's most fantastic blessings on mankind. It is raw material for an unparalleled kind of creativity in man, an astounding opportunity to shape and to fashion and to continue the Creator's work. We are made in His image and likeness, and He loves to create. Why shouldn't we? He gives us vegetables, we give back ratatouille. He gives us sugarcane, we give back cupcakes. He gives us chickens, and we give back buffalo wings.
Cooking only becomes a chore, in my mind, when it is performed for purely selfish reasons, meaning cooking for its own sake. We are in a way both liberated and limited by food; liberated by the creative outlet provided by food, limited because we must eat to survive. Selfishness then has ample opportunity to creep into the process, especially since nowadays we seem to have tilted much more dramatically towards the perversion of eating to survive. Now we live to eat, rather than eat to live. And yet we don't want to have to cook. Odd conundrum.
I challenge all aspiring chefs out there to come to grips with yourself about the meaning of your cooking and why you do it. It should never be mixed with selfishness. The most satisfied you will ever be is when you cook for others and not just for yourself.
Cooking only becomes a problem when your reasons for doing so sour.
God bless the cook.