The Foundation of Cooking

If prep work is the foundation of cooking, why is that so many who cook seem to hate prep work? When I used to watch Hell’s Kitchen, the punishment for not winning challenges was prepping all the food for the upcoming cook-off, and it really throws me off. Personally, I don’t know any other time in the kitchen when I am so intimately close with my ingredients as during my prep work, so how can anyone who loves food hate this special moment of preparing it?

Whenever I’m in the kitchen, the time when I feel most active in manipulating my ingredients is when I’m cleaning, chopping, dicing and slicing whatever’s on the menu that night. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a whole foods nut, but there’s nothing better to me than handling fresh herbs and veggies, raw seafood and the simplest forms of food. I like knowing where my food comes from, and handling it is a reminder of what I’m putting in my body.

Of course this is not to dismiss the act of cooking. I love cooking. I love the sizzle in the pan, the fragrant aroma of flavors being released and that wonderful moment when my sauce suddenly thickens and I’m not just stirring runny broth in a pot. But isn’t it just as important to acknowledge and appreciate all of the work that goes into preparing the raw materials before they become something more than just ingredients?

I can’t be the only one who loves chopping and mincing and dicing.

Can I?


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