No excuse for not cooking

I keep on hearing people saying how they can’t find the time to cook for themselves.

If you ask around everyone seems to be very familiar with the various series that are shown on Netflix nowadays. Many of my friends will also try to convince me very eagerly to watch some series that they think that I really have to watch. Often you will be looked at like an alien if you haven’t watched yet another TV-series about drug deals or other gossip. Once I made the mistake of taking this urgent advice seriously. I was amazed at how much precious time this friendly suggestion had consumed.

We live in a society where it seems like everyone has plenty of time for their phones and for Netflix. However, looking at the reality around us, we have forgotten how to talk to each other, how to flirt with each other and how to touch one another. We have forgotten to spend time with our friends and families. Loneliness and depression rates are rising drastically and we are convinced that we need to persuade our friends to watch yet another Netflix series instead of giving them our full attention, time and care. Time, we claim at all times, is not at our disposal.

But above all, we claim we have no time to cook. We are too busy, we say. Cooking (and eating) is the fuel of life. Food is building the cells of our body and nourishing our mental state moment by moment as we speak, walk and sleep. If we were to stop eating, we will cease to exist. It is one of the fundamental actions of us human beings, while living this life. The way we will feel and behave throughout the day, hour by hour, will be largely influenced by what we eat, to an extent that most of us are probably underestimating.

To respect yourself is to dedicate daily time for cooking. Taking the time to cook daily is making the statement that your health, physical and mental well being are of high importance to you. That you want to nourish yourself in the best way you can. I would think that this should be obvious for all of us, but for some reason it isn’t for many of us.

Daily cooking doesn’t need to be complicated or extravagant. It doesn’t need to come from trendy cookbooks of yet another middle eastern cook. Daily cooking can be simple and modest, regular and home-y, comforting in its simplicity and nourishing. Cooking is an act of kindness and generosity towards yourself and the people you are cooking for. With your cooking you express your love and care for the people you are cooking for. And yes, you can express it three times a day. Three times a day you can open the fire in your kitchen and at the same time you open the fire in your heart.

Cooking culture and community life are closely connected. When we claim we lack time for cooking we say, in other words, that we lack time for life. We lack time for love and for the people we love. Let me tell you some bad news and good news, Netflix is not life, Netflix is a very poor imitation of life. Life is what is (not) happening behind this computer screen or phone you’re holding right at this moment. As a friend of mine, Lasse Passage, once wrote, if you don’t have time to cook, you don’t have time to live.

Love, Alexander.

Photo: Roasted cour de boeuf tomatoes by Vera Bos for ENERGY.