Thinking in the Kitchen
By Kathy Neal, Farmer, Hand Hewn Farm and part-time Yellowbird Employee
Why cook? Because it requires you to slow down, to work for your food at a time and place in history when a tiny percentage of the population raises 99 percent of the food for everyone else.Because it’s fun. Because it’s cheaper than eating out. Because it’s easier to be healthy. If you are buying a Yellowbird box with all of its delicious contents . . . that means you are cooking. Whether they are elaborate meals or simple ones, you are chopping, slicing, dicing, braising, frying, and EATING. And that is spectacular!
I think cooking and all it entails is a sacred act. It helps you to know your food in a way you simply can’t if you eat out all the time or even if (forgive me Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, Hello Fresh and all your compatriots) you are purchasing meal kits from some sort of food service. You get to know the texture of your food, you learn what it can do and what it can’t, you figure out which flavors go well together and which ones don’t, you discover the pleasure and satisfaction of making someone you have cooked for sigh with joy at the taste of something you yourself have created!
Most of us have trouble keeping our New Year’s resolutions if we make them, but because you have already made the decision to support small Ohio farmers, to buy fresh, conscientiously grown food, and because it’s a new year, I want to encourage you to let go of the “recipe”. I have several good friends who routinely claim they cannot cook without a recipe. They want precise measurements, exact ratios, clear directions. Maybe you don’t like failing. Maybe you don’t have time to try a second batch of something. Maybe you hate to waste food. I still say – be brave, you have a good mind, good taste buds, a good nose and those are the only things you need. (And maybe Benji will send you a replacement box for free if you ruin all your ingredients in an experiment . . . )