Why I Cook

by Maggie Battista on February 18, 2008

in Other

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There are so many reasons to cook. Your reasons may be different than my reasons. But my reasons are mine. I was reminded of why I cook this past weekend.

First, I don’t cook for the food. Let me repeat: I don’t cook for the food. There are no photos of food in this post and that’s purposeful. I certainly love celebrating the fruit of my labors, the prize after hours of chopping and stirring. I also find the photographing of my dishes quite rewarding, even if I still have so many more hours to photograph before I excel at this very special art. But food is really just my medium.

The Medium is the Message” – something I learned as a journalism student back at Boston University. I am passionate about food and do cook to explore that passion. And perhaps, all these blog posts suggests that “passion for food” is my message. I suppose on some level it is. Passion for food is contagious. I caught it years ago from old friends, new friends and fellow bloggers. But that’s not my reason for cooking. Okay, well, maybe it’s a teeny reason.

I do, however, have a big reason. The big reason I cook is to connect with friends, family and strangers. I cook to foster relationships with people all over the world. From the people I meet online, to the folks who were at my house this past Saturday night, I cook to foster a sense of community, bring people together, and experience something meaningful during those small rare moments when we’re not working or shopping or just getting on with life. Some people travel to feel connected, I cook. It works.

I had a lovely group of people to the house on Saturday. We shucked oysters together. We popped open several bottles of wine together. We laughed and joked while I assembled the next three courses and then we plated everything together. We opened more wine together while starting a fire. We had several helpings of my own personal secret dessert weapon, all together. We had a fine time and one guest remarked, in his mother tongue, about how his people would say the angels were shining down on this particular moment.

I don’t know about the angels, but I know each of my guests shined that night.

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Maggie Battista

Founder at Eat Boutique
Maggie, is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, and sold out of her first gift box of small batch independent food in 2009. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52, Time Out New York, Spencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie's also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique. Maggie's writing her first-ever cookbook Food Gift Love to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in fall 2015.


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  • Jen B

    Great food, great company – really fun evening!!! Will look forward to more in the future!

  • The Husband

    It was a great night, with great friends… with a great cook.
    And no, I don’t post enough to the blog..

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia at ‘cook eat FRET’

    wish you lived closer…
    we’d have some pretty amazing nghts

  • http://www.DailyBedpost.com Emma Jane

    This was a great post and made me wish I was there even more than your amazing brussels sprouts photos (and speaking of, I’ve been very impressed with your food photography, it’s really amazing). I love to cook for all of the above reasons, too, and also because there’s no better way to while away a Saturday afternoon than to be standing at the stove listening to NPR.

  • Maggie

    Emma Jane,

    I can’t agree with you more! There’s nothing that relaxes me more than a few recipes, a full fridge and hours to cook away in the kitchen. I think the focus is very freeing…

    xox.

  • sebas

    I just happen to be pretty much like you. If only people took the chance to explore how wonderful and releasing a habit this is, I´m sure they would not believe they were capable of feeling so many things all at once. I guess I´m here speaking on my behalf for this needs not necessarily be the case for everyone. It´s just I cannot help thinking what more there´s to cooking than simply mixing ingredients. Personally, I rejoyce to think even of the album I´ll be listening to while cooking; the colour of ingredients; their texture; smell. I make sure the place doesn´t smell of any other thing but of what´s being cooked. At least, until after the meal is over. Fuzzy I know- Also, annecdoticI´ve come to conclude there´s also somenthing about surprise underneath this ritual. By this I mean, I like to think there will be some new personal touch I can add, perhaps to the dish I know best how to cook. I like to think: this time, for this special ocassion, it will have a character of its own. All this being said, one realises this is to a large extent a ritual for one´s own relish, isn´t it? Yet, it so happens, we cannot really make it alone, almost like a performer. Ours is an “unfinished” business without our friends, family or whoever we cook for. Hope I haven´t been a bore! RGDS.

  • sebas

    I just happen to be pretty much like you. If only people took the chance to explore how wonderful and releasing a habit this is, I´m sure they would not believe they were capable of feeling so many things all at once. I guess I´m here speaking on my behalf for this needs not necessarily be the case for everyone. It´s just I cannot help thinking what more there´s to cooking than simply mixing ingredients. Personally, I rejoyce to think even of the album I´ll be listening to while cooking; the colour of ingredients; their texture; smell. I make sure the place doesn´t smell of any other thing but of what´s being cooked. At least, until after the meal is over. Fuzzy I know- Also, annecdoticI´ve come to conclude there´s also somenthing about surprise underneath this ritual. By this I mean, I like to think there will be some new personal touch I can add, perhaps to the dish I know best how to cook. I like to think: this time, for this special ocassion, it will have a character of its own. All this being said, one realises this is to a large extent a ritual for one´s own relish, isn´t it? Yet, it so happens, we cannot really make it alone, almost like a performer. Ours is an “unfinished” business without our friends, family or whoever we cook for. Hope I haven´t been a bore! RGDS.

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