Last month I had the pleasure of teaching a cooking and baking class for a group of young people involved with the Transit Arts program at my work. (If you’ve never heard of Transit Arts, check them out! They are a fabulous organization that provides a range of artistic opportunities for youth.)
Over the course of five weeks we roasted, chopped, frosted, and whipped our way through some of the basics. But even more importantly we laughed. And experimented. And got to know each other. And made messes almost as big as our imaginations.
Instead, it’s about friendships being born over a simple taste test. It’s being able to laugh when cake pops fall off their sticks, and more importantly, being able to try again. It’s about taking pride in your work and sharing it with others. It’s feeding off the energy and creativity flowing around a kitchen island, so the end product is more than just food. It’s heart and soul.
This. This, dear reader, is what I love about cooking. It’s the way food breaks down barriers of race or age or economics or religion and turns strangers into friends. It’s the way cooking makes us grateful. Grateful for the bounty the earth provides, the workers who bring it to us, and the hands that craft it into something delicious. It’s the community we experience when we sit at a table together, everyone delighting and being fed from the same simple meal.
It’s all these simple things. All these powerful things. All the lessons and trials and pleasures and surprises that cooking and eating brings to our lives. My wish for these students and all of you friends is that you’ll find a thread of gratitude, friendship, and celebration woven through the story of your cooking adventures. Because in the end it’s not about making the perfect recipe; it’s about the joy of passing it on.