I love to cook and I love to eat out. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that food is such an integral part of the human existence. Food is more than sustenance for humans, it is part of our culture. Growing up, food was simply for nourishment, a way for my mother to take care of her children. Dining out was, for the most part, a way for her to do the same thing, but without having to cook herself. My take is a bit different from my mother’s and the way I grew up.
When I cook for someone I am helping them live, I am showing them who I am and how I feel about them. Cooking takes time, effort and energy, so I am giving you my time, effort, and energy. It is also therapeutic for me; it has something to do with using both my hands and mind. It calms me and allows me to express myself and my feelings in a creative way. My kitchen is my domain, my womb within the womb of my home.
Eating out is a bit different. If I get takeout it is simply about getting something to eat because I am hungry, and nothing more. Of course, sometimes getting takeout is my way of trying a new restaurant’s food without having to incur the additional expense or time that dining in takes. Mostly it is just getting something to eat. When I choose to dine in, I am giving my time and energy to a restaurant. If it is somewhere I have never been then I am also taking a risk. What if the food sucks? What if it decides to come out as fast as it went in? What if the service is bad or the decor ugly? It’s a risk, a low-level risk, but a risk nevertheless. But I love it. Eating out can be a form of travelling. You can travel to many countries every week simply by going to a restaurant that represents a different country and culture’s food. One day England, another day Puerto Rico, and then back across the pond to France. Of all of our in-country international travels, my daughter finds herself drawn to China more often than not. 🙂