My Thoughts on Cooking

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“Only the vulgar would see no more to a kitchen than saucepans and no more to dinner than dishes”.

There seems to be enough new and old evidence that points to the fact that what we eat is of crucial importance on who we become physically and mentally. If we indeed are what we eat, then the role of cooking must be of paramount importance in our lives. It was the food critic Grimod de la Reynìere who said about two centuries ago that “only the vulgar would see no more to a kitchen than saucepans and no more to dinner than dishes”.

The main purpose of cooking is to produce foods which nurture us physically and mentally and help us develop our potential as human beings while providing us with a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. The art is cooking to prepare nutritious foods that turns the eaters on, making the process of being nurtured and of developing ourselves into a pleasure and a feast for our senses. The colors, textures, flavors, aromas on our daily plates will transform into those of our daily lives. Food can and will transform us. When cooking it is important to play with the variety of elements which we have at our disposal, and to stretch our imagination in order to create the world we would like to live in. Daily cooks, more so than the fancy haute cuisine cooks, are the builders of civilization.

So what are some of the elements that we can use to help us create dynamic nourishing foods on which civilizations can continue to be built successfully?
-fresh foods-
-seasonal foods-
-whole foods-
-local foods-
-varied foods-
-organic foods-
-traditional foods-
-exotic foods-
-beautifully prepared foods-

“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”-Carl Sagan

As with any form of art the art of cooking is inseparable from our own personal stories, our memories and associations. Therefore I thought it important to let you into my world of foods, how these foods participate in my world and in the world they come from.
Here I will post recipes which I have used to nourish, amuse and inspire my family for the last 20 years. Just as with most food choices, there is a personal story, a feeling behind these recipes. Some are dishes which are reminiscent of my Cuban background, some reflect a certain Spanish influence from my mother’s side and from having lived in Spain as a child, many have an American influence as a result of having spend a big part of my youth living there, and of course there are Dutch influences behind some of these recipes, since Holland is where my adult family life takes place as wife and mother of 4 children.

All of the recipes here are vegetarian because that is how my cooking has mostly been for the last 20 years. Plant based cooking has been my basis since I became health conscious 20 years ago, and 5 years later when I came across Macrobiotics. But, my journey with foods did not come to a halt with those discoveries and my fascination with cooking has continued to grow and develop beyond the confines of philosophies and trends. My goal has been to combine ideas with a sense of purpose, receiving and giving insight from and to the world around us.

Creating the Universe

Approaching cooking(or any other activity) as art requires in the first place engaging in the process with a sense of wonder for the ingredients, activities and skills related to it. But, on a larger and more profound level it requires engagement, awareness and gratitude in and for the universe.
Transforming beautiful, whole, fresh products into delicious, nourishing foods can be as valid of an artistic endeavor as Michelangelo discovering a statue inside a block of stone. Art is an act of giving, and traditionally works of art have had the intention of encouraging devotion or awareness in a visual or aural way. Culinary creations encourage bonds between family and friends while nourishing the body.

“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, or so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere through which we look – to affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of the arts.” Henry Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

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Henri Matisse. Polynesia, The Sea. 1946. Gouache on paper cut-out.

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