"Cooking is a great destresser because it serves as a creative outlet," says Debbie Mandel, author of "Addicted to Stress." "And while stress can numb your senses, cooking activates them. It's a sensory experience with aroma, taste, touch, visual delight and even sizzling sound."
I could easily start and finish this post with it's title: I Like to Cook at Home. Though I cook all day at work I still like to cook at home; it's my favorite place. Often the busier the day at work the more I want to cook myself dinner at home. I don't eat like I cook on the job--most chefs don't--otherwise I would be either as big as a house or in the grave. At work I cook tons of red meat and often use cream and lots of butter. At home my meals are based on pasta, olive oil, bread, pizza, and vegetables. On-the-job cooking is often stressful; at home it is relaxing. Cooking at home can be a form of therapy. Most often it is just my son and I, or even just myself. The above picture is tonight's meal in progress. Chicken ragu in one pot, macaroni boiling in another; broccoli aglio e olio sauteing in the foreground, and a seven grain mixture boiling in the rear (which I'll make into seven grain bread in the morning). At work I never allow a radio or stereo playing (there's enough white noise in a stressful kitchen), but at home I always listen to music or NPR; tonight I was listening to Fred Eaglesmith. I can't image not wanting to have the desire to cook for myself; I feel blessed. People ask me all the time if I don't get tired of cooking. No is always the answer. But if I were to elaborate I would say that while I still enjoy and feel lucky enough to cook for a living--no matter how stressful--my most favorite place to cook is at home, and sometimes just for myself.
I don't have a typed recipe for tonight's meal to offer, but this one--which contains fish and is one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes--is really good and similar to the chicken version we had tonight. If you'd like to read an article I wrote for Artvoice a few years ago on these very same thoughts, click here.