Happy Holidays now learn how to cook

The cook is a craftsman. He takes foul from the ir,fish from the water, fruits, vegetables,and grains from the land, and animals that walk the earth, and through his skills and art transforms the the raw product to edible food. He serves to sustain life in man, woman, and child. He has a sacred duty through his efforts and art to sustain and maintain the healthy bodies that god has given us to house our souls. (14th Century Guild Manual)

The holiday season is upon us. Once again, retailers are preparing shoppers for the shopping season. Christmas wares have been in some stores since August.

With the holiday season fast approaching, it is time to discuss a very delicate subject. A subject so delicate it is unmentionable. Cooking. EEK!

Too many people live self induced fast paced over active lives. It is easier to order take out, grab fast food, or eat out. It is a sad state of affairs when you need GPS to find the kitchen in your own home.


Pork Roast stuffed with figs. (Peter V. Bella)

American culture is devolving faster as we fall into a self made abyss of too much work, too many distractions, and the percepttion of too little time.

We keep seeking something called quality time with others while texting, emailing, browsing, or staring blankly at the television.

People know more about Duck Dynasty Dancing with the Stupid, American Idiot, and something or other called a Kardashian than they do their own families.

Since the holiday season usually starts with Thanksgiving, you have plenty of time to learn how to cook or polish whatever former skills you once had. Cooking is not difficult, complicated, time consuming, or expensive.

It is not toil, labor, backbreaking, or menial.

Food is life. There is no higher love than providing life giving sustenance to others. Cooking and serving food is love in one of its purest forms.

There is no reason why you cannot learn how to cook. There are only excuses and most of them are lamer than the celebrities and politicians you adore and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and television.

Step away from the computer, put away the idiotphone, turn off the television, and for God's sake learn how to cook. Cooking is not astrophysics or nuclear science. It is a simple skill anyone can learn. It just takes willingness, time, and the ability to follow simple instructions called recipes.

Look, if you can set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, or the security settings for the Internet, you can learn how to cook.


Photo: Peter V. Bella

The basics are relatively simple. You can take classes if you are afraid to venture into your own kitchen alone. There are many great cookbooks. The best, for beginners, is the "Joy of Cooking" (Rombauer et al), a classic since it was first published in 1936.

Jacques Pepin's "Complete Techniques" and Julia Child's "The Way to Cook" are also reliable standbys. If you want to learn how to bake, "The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion" is a good book for beginners.

It is not hard to learn how to prepare simple meals. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to put aside all the useless distractions that inhabit your life.

If you start to learn how to cook now there is no reason why you could not knock out a simple holiday feast by Thanksgiving. By Christmas you may be able to impress your relatives and friends.

Do not learn how to cook just for the "holidays". Make everyday a holiday. There is no reason why you cannot share a simple feast daily with the people you love. One or two hours cooking and eating is a small wedge of time. You will not miss anything important. Your Facebook friends and fellow tweeters will still be there. You might even learn a few things, like the name of your children or your significant other.

I do not think anyone will ever learn what a Kardashian is.


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