Radical Cooking

I am supposed to be doing my math homework right now. But radical ideas are swimming in my head (and note that typing is slow since the “a” key is broken off of my computer and my pinky has to trust that striking empty air will, in fact, make an “a” pop up on the screen). I stare out the window of my apartment at bright green leaves of the Greenbelt. I think of how I have always wanted to change the world.

How can I do that with Le Creuset (which I don’t actually own, but stick with the theory here, eh?) and a $20 whisk (which I do, now, own)? I am blessed with creativity for sure, but today it crosses my mind that I may be blessed more highly with idealism and shortsightedness. Some people who know me have also deemed this combination Stubborn As A Mule. I cannot argue this. The truth of my likeness to this animal has nearly been caught in photographs it is so true. With this being divulged to you, let us return to the original question.

Why do I think I can save the world with a casserole dish, a stainless-steel pan, and a $20 whisk?

My Stubborn As A Mule instinct says to tell you, “Because I CAN.” But that would be rude, and you may never return to read me again. So allow Chef Mule to explain to you how we, my dear army of cooks, will radically change the world for the better.

Cooking is the way to the Heart
The heart heals all.

The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. I rationalize this partly through my belief in evolutionary behaviorism psychology. Before I understood that this is largely the type of psychologist I am (or will become when I graduate), I was validating behaviors by both children and adults alike in patterns of behavior among different apes and mammals. The fine line between enjoyment and addiction

For we mammals, food begins the bonding to our mothers. Food=breast=mother. NONE of these things can be separated for the infant. The desire to nurse is as much about a desire for closeness as it is about hunger. We develop the same hormone releases when we experience good satisfying food as when we feel the skin of someone we adore. These correlations will continue our entire lives. This is why food addiction is a deep issue for all of us, it is primal. To not get what you need in the way of bonding or intimacy can, hormonally, be found in enjoying food.

Let’s back away from negative issues though and look at healing ourselves and our communities with food.

You start reading every day about this crazy good stuff I am making here in my small apartment in Austin, Texas. You see that cooking is not just for dowdy chicks and middle age balding men (both of who never go out (and my apologies to both of these groups of people, I think you are both very sexy)). You may cook sometimes, and you may cook well, but do you put yourself into it like an artist? Do you laugh at yourself? Do you invite people over to help, or just to even watch and talk? Do you take food to your neighbors, or do you think they would think you are weird?

Preparing food with mindfulness (not even like *buddha* mindfulness, just the idea that you want to please someone and yourself by the time you are done), sharing it (both triumphs and those meals where you trash it and go get a latte instead), going slow enough at the table to revere natural flavors, and staying in touch with the seasons on your cutting board… THIS can heal us all. You don’t have to be the one cooking either. You can be the eater. The eater has a special role, as there are often more eaters than chefs at any party. You eaters are the ones that we cannot live without. The look on your face, the small or loud noises from deep within your chest as you consume and feel what we meant when we made it… you are the soil and sunlight to our most hallowed crops. You are the ones willing to take a chance with us at your helm.

“Preparing food with mindfulness , sharing it, going slow enough at the table to revere natural flavors, and staying in touch with the seasons on your cutting board… THIS can heal us all.”

The kitchen is a place of service to others. There are many chefs that aspire to greatness because it is like being a rock star, it is like having a hold on a society’s wants and desires to be a top-notch chef. But these are not chefs to me, they are rock stars who ended up with a pallet instead of a voice. Let’s repeat, the kitchen is a place of service. It is where we dream of making someone else feel good. It is where we pay attention to what hurts and what uplifts. It is where we think grandly of making love to the whole world with one bowl of soup, one seared tuna steak rare, or one perfect sauce. The warm glow is addictive, the smells intoxicating, the labor a fine-tuned dance, and the end result… both art and service.

It is about radical change. Bringing communities together. Providing experiences for others and sharing experiences with others. I love to go out to eat. I love it like some people love to go shoe shopping.

Experiencing someone else’s ideas about combination and presentation is like seeing a good movie. However, going out to eat is not going to further this idea on community. Having dinners where things are locally grown (if possible), where a friend or acquaintance cooked for you, where there is dramatically less waste generated that in a restaurant, where your take-home boxes had better be reusable containers, where people sit around on the couch afterward and make plans for revolution of any kind… THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT.

I am not interested in inspiring you to cook what I am making. I am very interested in inspiring you to feel the way I do about the importance of food. To know and understand it for both it’s base value, and the value it can hold creating a different kind of place to live. I am a complete food snob. I also work on a budget most of the time and cut corners or make things faster, because there are three kids to feed.

I am interested in your energy, in you being in the kitchen (which is a place of great service to others) and your heart soaring out of it’s cage, your mind feeling clear and agile, your body relaxing and your self-love mounting a great steed and taking off with you on it. This is your task at hand and it must be done…