Delicious Conversations: Cooking With Someone You Love

by Matt on December 12, 2011

This post is part of an ongoing discussion sponsored by San Pellegrino and their “delicious conversations” series as seen through the lens of food. I chose to participate because the idea of delicious moments with friends and family and food conversations that generate chatter interest me. Plus I was able to pick the topic and interview some of my favorite people. For my first post I’ve decided to write about something I hold close and dear – cooking with someone you love.

 

As a guy who has always known his way around a kitchen and been comfortable cooking at an early age, I’ve always known importance of cooking for myself. Spending my early 20’s in Chicago and then San Francisco, I didn’t always have the means to dine out daily and found the simple act of cooking for myself or roommates necessary. Soon the necessity became a pleasure as my access to stellar ingredients and unique global flavors incorporated themselves into my cooking.  I felt like a whole new world opened up to me, thanks much in part to the abundance of California fruits and vegetables and the numerous farmers’ markets practically in my backyard.

No matter how enjoyable I found cooking for myself, it really wasn’t until I hitched up with my better half and found myself with more space and resources (who says getting old always has to suck?) as well as the ability to step back and take my time with cooking. While this may seem like a luxury (All! That! Time! To! Cook!), it wasn’t necessarily so; it was a mandate, a requirement that bettered my relationship, my palate and my pocketbook – not to mention my soul.

So what is it specifically about cooking with someone you love that I, well, love? For starters, togetherness. In an era where we spend time commuting and computing (neither with much actual face time, I’ll add), being in the kitchen together unites us emotionally and physically. Hey, we have to eat, we have to cook, why not do it together? And as any cook will tell you, there are those moments where you’re so focused on the food that it’s easy to let the stress of the day take a backseat for just a moment. In our case, cooking means music & wine (sometimes more wine than music, if I’m being honest), and the act of putting food on the table isn’t a chore as much as a moment of therapy and reflection.

When we are in the kitchen together it just feels right. We file into our respective roles: me doing prep, clean-up and side dishes, the food stylist doing the main. However, if we’re talking pizza or grilling I usually step up to the plate, leaving more nuanced things like the precise world of baking to someone who actually reads measurements. Don’t look at me.

All in all, we have our routine. It works and usually yields some delicious results. But don’t assume all is glittery and happy in Kitchenville; we still have our disagreements but remarkably they never happen when we’re cooking together. Thank goodness considering there are fires and knives, that’s all I’m sayin’.

I decided to ask my neighbors, the lovely Wade and Brittany (that’s them up above), what it’s like when they cook together. As some of our most dearest friends, we’ve bonded over meals, cooked together, dined out, gabbed over ingredients and forged a wonderful friendship with two super cool peeps. I knew they cooked together several nights a week, but I wanted to find out why.

“Because we have to and our place is really small!” Wade said. “And also because we enjoy spending time together. He loves to cook, I love to eat” added Brittany, zeroing in on exactly what motivates me to cook with my partner. I imagine it’s also what motivates others.

“I cook every day,” he says,  “and because I’m health conscious and it’s hard to eat out everyday. And also I can use fresh ingredients. You can go out and spend lots of money on a meal that can disappoint. I can cook much better than many of the meals I’ll eat in a restaurant. But when we cook together, well, it’s beneficial because we both share a love of healthy eating and spending time together.”

I asked them if there’s a certain flow when they are in the kitchen together, and after a Lucille Ball joke made by Wade and a slap on his arm from his wife, I learned that they have certain tasks but that it all depends on the meal.

While a quick glimpse into their world showed me how similar we are, I decided to call in the big guns – my parents – who are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year. As food lovers, excellent cooks and the people who taught me to cook, I knew they’d be able to provide some insight as to what they get out of cooking together.

“We are together, for one thing. And we work well together and enjoy each other’s company” my dad says while my mom echoes his words.

“Plus I get to kiss your mother whenever I feel like it,” he adds.

I sure hope cooking, living and laughing together is the recipe for a life of happiness. I’m looking forward to 50 years with Adam…and then some!

 Ok folks, so let me ask you: do you cook with your wife/husband/bf or gf/significant other? What do you get out of it? Or must you make them go far away when you’re in the zone? I’d love to know.