Cooking With Love

Creating in the kitchen is a means to share and bring people together.


Cover of cookbook, “Cooking With Love”

Kriti Dhaduvai, Staff Reporter

For me, cooking has always been a medium to express love, whether that be to cheer up a gloomy friend, or to surprise my parents on their birthdays. Lately, though, there’s been an unspoken judgment that not only me, but many women face when it comes to cooking. It’s a hyper-woke notion that women cooking, and enjoying cooking is bad because they are ‘reaffirming harmful stereotypes’. 

Albeit, these conflicts are not without basis. It is due to centuries of gender stereotyping, that many modern women denounce cooking as a way to break free from society’s expectations. Needless to say, it’s not their fault. Every woman, each in their own unique way, is trying to overcome these confining stereotypes which have plagued us for so long. But, by denouncing cooking, we are going to another extreme. First, and foremost, cooking is a matter of sustenance (food). Realistically speaking, it is an indispensable skill that both women and men should learn. 

Secondly, the fact that something as vital as sustenance can be made into something so beautiful, that it can be created and enveloped with passion and love, is so tremendous. Just imagine that you’re cooking some food, say something as ordinary and plain as Kraft Mac & Cheese for yourself and your siblings. Once it is cooked, you sprinkle a bit of grated parmesan on top because you know your brother loves that. And, when you serve the Mac & Cheese on the table, you put a bottle of Sriracha on the side because both you and your sister relish that extra zing of spice. You’ve just transformed some random materials from a dingy box into a meal that fills the stomach and fulfills its purpose: to nourish and provide sustenance. The paramount fact of the matter is that you did it with love. It makes the food all that special. So, if we fall to this social pressure and reject this wonderful medium to express our passion, we lose the opportunity to redefine what cooking means to us. 

Cooking can mean multitudinous things to different people. When you experiment with your ingredients, and tweak recipes to produce outstanding results, that’s a science in and of itself. Cooking can also be like art; cathartic, relaxing, and creative. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how cooking is the perfect vehicle for cultural diffusion. By experimenting with foods from various cuisines, you can learn so much about the complexities and circumstances that gave birth to the different cultures in the world. That way, you can use cooking to share your own culture with others and learn about other cultures as well.

But, what is it that makes cooking so universal, that it can be a science and an art? What is it that makes it permeate yet transcend even age-old cultures? Again, we come back to the same point. It is love. Cooking with love brings an innate joy, a satisfaction, not unlike the enjoyment you feel from eating food made with love. This love can be in any way you interpret it. It can be for siblings, parents, friends, you name it. Even when you are cooking for yourself, that’s a form of self-love because you begin to care for yourself and your body. And, when you cook with the desire of sharing the food with others, you automatically become a more open-hearted, generous and thoughtful person. 

So, take the time to dust off that old cook book lying in your kitchen, or dig through the treasure trove of TikTok recipes you saved over the pandemic. The hesitations you may feel to start cooking or the pressures you may face to quit cooking, will amount to nothing if you remember what cooking means to you. I think that sharing your love through food, which is as essential as it is enjoyable, is the most joy-giving thing. To quote my favorite cookbook, “Cooking With Love,” cooking has the “hidden magic of bringing people together, opening their hearts and giving joy and affection, while they enjoy a meal.”