It is a damp, blustery day here in York and I could have sat all day in my dressing gown drinking tea and eating cake. Fate intervened however as I had a place booked at a local group of ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ and a smoked haddock cassoulet awaiting my arrival. During our meal my companions and I found ourselves discussing home cookery and the lack of confidence some of our friends held when it came to cooking for themselves. For those of us who cook regularly, indeed would feel lost without this daily ritual, it seems incredulous that anyone could perceive a dish such as beef chilli to as intimidating.
This conversation had me pondering on my own relationship with food and how, when I lack confidence in so many other areas of my life I can approach the cooker like an old friend. Why is it that when I open the morning curtains to pouring rain and battering winds my mind turns straight to kale, shin of beef stew and steamed ginger puddings?
If you are a regular either here or on my Facebook page then you will be aware of my transplant story and the important role which cookery and a passion for food played in my recovery. What you may not appreciate is that I showed no interest in cooking until I was in my early twenties. School home economics lessons were uninspiring, teenage priorities got in the way. Thanks to my mum I grew up with good home cooked food so appreciated it’s value, and with maturity came a developing curiosity in the black art of producing a tasty meal.
So we come to the crux of the matter. I love to eat, oh I love to eat. I am also driven by an intense state of curiosity, and once I get a bee in my bonnet, can’t stop. What does it taste like? Where is it from? What is it’s history? how can I eat it? Internet searches, recipe swaps and of course a fabulous array of cookbooks with their styled photographs, mouthwatering descriptions and tactile wrap around covers inform my development. A display of autumn vegetables at the market makes my heart jump: my soul lets out a little song as I stride towards my local butchers thinking of pork shoulder, oxtail or maybe a seasonal rabbit.
A Sense of Purpose aims to encourage people to embrace their creativity and see it as an important way of staying healthy in both body and mind. I focus on food as a creative process because it is indeed my muse. I meet incredibly creative individuals who consider cookery to be nothing more than a mundane task to be endured in the name of getting the fuel they require for life. If you don’t cook because it bores you then fair enough, we can’t all share the same passion in life. But if you find yourself eating friend’s food wishing that you could do the same, without a clue where to start, let me whisper in your ear. There is no secret, no special ingredient. All you need is a little curiosity and a working cooker. Have a go, and you may find yourself building a friendship that will last forever.