• Mikel Perez-Yi

Why do I cook

I was raised in a single parent household. My mom was in the middle of grad school when my father left the family and she was left to raise two boys. There were hard times and moments of sadness, but we were fairly happy. My mom raised us to depend on each other, and that meant being able to contribute to the group.

At 9 years old, my mom showed me the stove. "this is on and this is off. Don't burn yourself." Then she showed me how to make a quesadilla. She wanted me to able to make do when she was to busy to do it herself. Not that I was left alone or making my own dinner every night. But, mom needed to know that we wouldn't starve to death if she had to write an essay through dinner time.

At first I resented cooking. I burned my food and myself on occasion, in spite of warnings. I added too much salt, not enough salt, undercooked, overcooked, I ruined a hundred meals before I made something that was more than just edible. But I practiced. I read recipes, I watched videos online, I found things I liked. I spent my allowance at the grocery store to try new things. I still ruin the occasional meal. It was six months of effort before I made bread that actually looked like bread. But everytime something came out of the oven that looked and smelled and tasted good, I felt something. Cooking brings something to me that I can't really find doing much else.

Cooking is the only time I can truly fail and then still find a reason to come back to it. I cook because it brings me joy. I cook because it brings me a personal motivation. I cook because I want to.

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