Yes, cooking does effect your physical and mental health. You must be wondering how does it effect mentally? It is not very tough to realize that. I am a cook. I do not possess the knowledge from a psychologist who has a good office in uptown for over 15 years, but I do hold the experience of serving over a few thousand plates and memories of bitter sweet experiences from each of their feedback.
This effect works 2 ways. First while you engage yourself in cooking your own health that gets effected initially. Second but even more important, what you pass others through your plate.
When you get involved in cooking you are equipping yourself with the most amazing gift of “senses”. You are looking at ingredients full of vibrant colors; you smell the most incredible creations of nature; you taste the juiciest and the freshest product grown from somewhere as close as your hands are reaching to the place you only have dreamed of going someday. You can enjoy hearing that sizzling sound while you lay your breaded fish in a pan with hot oil and touch that steak to feel the doneness. You are overall involved with all 5 of your senses while you are cooking. And let me also help you understand this while you are already putting all these 5 senses to work, you are also challenged to think ahead what colours and shapes of the ingredients you have to put together in order to create that eye appealing presentation and umami. This, altogether is what putting your 6th sense to challenge.
As we are not only active with all our six senses, we are also putting our heart and soul on the plate. We are passing the same feeling we are dealing with in that moment. “YES IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENJOY COOKING”. Chef Marcus Wareing mentions in his book “HOW TO COOK PERFECT” that enjoy cooking and the food will taste good for you. It is the food that will do its job, if you do your part. Chef Gordon Ramsay passes an important message through his book, that is eat less but eat well. It is very important the quality of the food that you eat. It is obvious we all cannot afford the finest and freshest organic berries in our dessert but do the best you can is the zest of that message.
While I am sharing some thoughts of a modern day cooking heroes I must mention an impressive ancient saying I have heard in India while growing up is “you become what you eat”. This is more related to the vegetarian way of eating. You become what you eat kind of relates to the belief that if you eat an animal you will become an animal. Just to make it clear I must not say if you eat vegetable, you become a vegetable as it may sound funny in some sense if you think about it. The message is that eat healthy, eat well, eat quality, eat food that would energize you and feeds your body as well as your soul.
Make sure you put lots of love in your food. Remember, enjoy cooking and serve some love not just food. Cooking is a talent like singing or dancing. Many people claim to have it but it is tough to find it and nurture it to its best, and those who succeed can only realize what it really takes to cook good. There is a reason your grandma’s cooking was appreciated more than your professional culinary degree. What may be missing on your plate is “LOVE”; the feel of all the senses; the interest to be standing in front of that heat on your feet to make sure someone else gets what they paid for whether being time or money.
Cooking and eating directly works on your physical health, but indirectly the impact it leaves on your mental health is of a higher degree.
ENJOY COOKING !!!