Text and photos inspired by The heart of the cook
How can someone find the one thing they’re passionate about? Is it in the way we explore the world around us, or how we find ourselves constantly repeating the things we are good at? People tend to hold onto that passion, to something that they always do with a smile on their face. But the question is, do we really have to work hard just to convince others we love it? Most people would agree if I said the answer was no!
In my Swedish class at the university, we recently had a chance to explore the magnificent world of culinary arts created by an amazing Finnish and Swedish author, Sabira Ståhlberg in her book Kockens Hjärta (English The heart of the cook). Inspired by the main character’s story I decided to share some of my thoughts about the words cooking and passion. In the first chapter of the book the author pointed out one seemingly simple but important phrase – Food is life. And I believe that is very true.
While it took a lot of time for me to find my talents and passions, I have always been sure I enjoyed two things – both preparing the food and eating it. You don’t have to be a proud owner of a chef’s hat to become part of the culinary world, and that’s the best thing about cooking; it is not only a profession for people all around the world, but you can also be an amateur or just someone who finds satisfaction in mixing ingredients without any particular order, and have just as much fun.
However, it still widely believed that being a cook is a piece of cake. You only need talent and a good kitchen, fresh food of high quality. It is certainly more than just that and a two-month cooking course. Although a strict set of achievements that one must accomplish before one can become a cook doesn’t exist, there are different kinds of institutions providing culinary programmes and also rules that ought to be followed.
But let’s not make this story about rules, because neither passion nor cooking produced from it doesn’t really revolve around them. It is about expressing yourself creatively in the best way you can. Cooking is art. There are plenty ways to prepare the potatoes you just bought in the market or use those cherries you just took out of the freezer.
Even though I don’t have much of a professional experience, I tend to advise people not to overthink when preparing food. The chances that one makes a fatal mistake in cooking are minimal. It is not the end of the world if you forget to add sugar in a cake. Don’t panic if you make a mistake, there is always a next time.
I truly believe that cooking makes people happier. Planet Earth provided us with a huge variety of food sources. You can constantly look for something new. Isn’t it amazing, when you mix your ingredients into a delicious meal? Not to mention all the senses that partake in it. And the best thing about cooking is not that you will only make yourself happy, but other people, too. Preparing dishes, even the simplest one, for your friends and family gives you satisfaction like no one could.
Also, it is one of the best possible ways to get acquainted with a certain culture. The cuisine of a certain region is the very best representative of its values and cultural heritage. Regional differences shows us how differently food is prepared all around world.
Every country has its own specialities, so I kindly recommend attending as many international dinners as you can. It is not just because of different dishes or food itself, but about the effort that people put in making it and the joy it produces in you and your loved ones.
People usually give up on cooking because it seems too complicated and takes a lot of time. That is somewhat true and everyone can agree that they have had a few cooking mishaps of their own. But if you change your perspective you may see some encouraging results. We live in a chaotic and stressful world where you have just enough time to check if you are still breathing, but if you look outside that bubble there may be room for a few culinary challenges.
Search the internet, ask your grandma for a recipe or come up with a new one, watch a kitchen programme or try a new diet. That is how I found myself in this tasty adventure. Needless to say that one day I would like to be a chef, who owns a Michelin star, but I was not born with these talents. I had to try, adopt and develop that passion, and maybe if you try – who knows where you would end up? So do that, I challenge you! But first, grab something to eat after reading this. And always remember: Food is life!