There are many reasons why people don’t cook or don’t cook often. It takes too much effort to plan meals. Recipes have too many obscure ingredients that require shopping from multiple stores. Time is scarce and it’s preferred spent on other activities. Cooking is seen as work.
With Paris still fresh in my mind, I’ve been thinking about the reasons or excuses I have for when I don’t want to cook. I make life difficult for myself in my head, building up a mountain of obstacles so it makes more than enough sense not to strap on my apron. The sad thing is that as my mental mountain is growing, the blessings of a shared meal with my husband, the experience of taking ingredients and turning them into something delightful to the senses, the active learning of food science and gastronomy are forgotten.
We stayed in a beautiful apartment in the 6th arrondissement Saint Germain des Prés. It was beautiful, charming, and less than 300 square feet. The kitchen was about 3 feet wide that was split evenly between a sink, 2 electric burners, and a cutting board. There was a mini-fridge and the only other cooking appliance was an oversized toaster oven. Fin!
What’s amazing for us Americans is that these are fairly typical amenities of a 2-person apartment in the center of the city. What’s more amazing is that what we might view as an automatic invitation to eat out for every meal is rather seen as an encouragement to buy only what one needs for the next one or two days and always cook with fresh ingredients.
We cooked a hot breakfast every day in the apartment in lieu of the standard croissant, and also had a couple of lunches and dinners at home. The kitchen, its size and features never translated into trouble.
Now we’re home and I have a choice. Do I start looking at my kitchen with my pre-Paris eyes or do I see all the abundance of area, tools, and local produce with which I can create, taste, and be satisfied?