Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Type of Cook Are You?

With Thanksgiving approaching, it's good to reflect on cooking. Studies show that the person who buys and cooks the food has the biggest influence on family eating habits. These “nutritional gatekeepers” influence more than 70% of the foods we consume (2006 Report in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association). If you are the nutritional gatekeeper in your family, cooking with love means cooking healthy.

Cornell researchers questioned 770 family cooks and identified five different types: “giving” cooks who specialize in comfort food, especially baked goods; “methodical” cooks who rely mostly on recipes; “competitive” cooks who focus less on health than on making an impressive dish; “healthy” cooks who use fresh vegetables and ingredients but don’t focus much on taste; “innovative” cooks who like to experiment with ingredients and cooking methods. It turns out that “innovative” cooks produce the healthiest and tastiest meals overall.

My point in sharing this information is to help you identify your cooking personality so you know where your biases are. Once you’re aware of your cooking type, then you can decide to move toward a healthier, more innovative style of cooking that will benefit those you cook for.

Becoming aware of your cooking type is a step toward mindfulness in cooking. When you’re cooking mindfully, you are aware of the ingredients you are using and their effect on those who eat the food you prepare. You are also aware of the movements of cooking: preparing and mixing the ingredients, selecting the pots or pans, cooking the ingredients to perfect doneness, and arranging the food on dishes or plates. Cooking is an act of creativity and it can both express and enhance our inner life. Healthy cooking not only feeds our bodies, but also feeds our souls.

1 comment:

  1. Well put. "Innovative" cooks approach the task with joy, as well as mindfulness. Knowledge (nutritional values, sources, potential contaminants, etc.), plus a little inspiration, creates foods for the body and the soul, and as you rightly point out, feeds both. We need to have a little courage and a seasoning of improvisation to achieve this.