Friday, December 10, 2010

It's a Wonderful Lasagna

"Eating a warm meal nourishes the body, preparing it nourishes the soul."

I wish I had written that -- but I actually read it in a magazine today. I think it's amazing that not everyone feels this way. Actually, I don't always feel this way. Cooking is one of those things that I find sometimes satisfying and other times overrated.

Recently I was sharing with a friend my plans to make smoky cheese lasagna this weekend.

"It got four forks on! I can't wait to make it -- all the e-mail reviews were awesome," I beamed.

"I have never made lasagna," she said.

"Never?" I asked.

"Never. I have better things to do with my time than make complicated dishes or anything requiring a bunch of ingredients. I just don't cook," she said.

Well. That sent me thinking "wonderful life" style about what my life would have been like without having ever made lasagna. Then I imagined a world without all the meals I had made as a family, with my siblings and friends. All the effort spent on recipes, testing out ingredients, reading gourmet magazines and swapping awesome dishes with friends.

I briefly considered the freedom it would bring not to really stress about dinner, family gatherings and always trying to outdo myself every holiday. Swatting that thought out of the way, I circled back to my original thought. Cooking has been the fabric that has woven many sweet happy memories together. For me, the best of times were the ones wrapped around the kitchen.

No, I can't imagine a world without cooking lasagna. I think it would be a sad world indeed. Yes, it is a lot of work and with little reward. Yet for me there is some sweet touch of satisfaction knowing that I created something wonderful with my own hands for the people I treasure.

Yes, the magazine was mostly right -- preparing the food does nourish the soul. But only if the cooking is done with a loving heart and grateful company.