“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” – Craig Claiborne
I know a couple who have been married for over forty years. In all of their years of marriage, they’ve only cooked together a handful of times. Throughout their marriage, the wife has done all of the cooking. She’s an excellent, creative cook and baker and her husband has a healthy appetite for her food offerings. As much as she enjoys being the food preparer, I get the sense she’s tired of being responsible for all of the shopping and cooking. However, lately, cooking together has become a newfound activity for them. Something changed in their relationship and they’ve been enjoying the intimacy found in cooking together.
Anyone who knows me realizes that food is a huge part of my life. I like spending time researching recipes, finding specialty ingredients, tasting distinct flavors, and finally, sharing my creations with loved ones. But stepping up the game and doing it with someone I really love brings another form of intimacy.
I really like when a partner and I brainstorm about what to make, identify the ingredients we need, and discuss the pairings and side dishes. I love when we prepare good food from scratch, allowing time to pass while snacking on charcuterie and fruit. As the cooking ensues, I notice my care for the other person grows, and find that I learn more about cooperation, kindness and consideration as we work together in the kitchen. In our lives that are often chaotic and busy, cooking together can really be quality time with an extraordinary and delicious outcome. This kind of cooking, the type when we’re not on a tight schedule and when we’re cooking for pleasure sends a loving message.
When you cook or bake food with love, it’s like sending a love letter in the mail. In that sense, you really can express kindness with food.
When you go out of your way to make someone a meal or cook together, especially making favorite dishes, you’re building partnership and helping the relationship grow. Essentially, you’re starting with raw ingredients and seeing the meal through, all the while gaining closeness with your lover. Plus, at the end of the cooking, you get to enjoy a succulent meal, which automatically is extra satisfying and can be an aphrodisiac to the main course!
Intimacy comes in many forms, and in this case, stems from feeling close through taste, texture and creation of a meal. Cooking together isn’t always about sex (although sometimes it is!). It’s about intimacy: stealing kisses while tasting the risotto or clinking glasses of wine while braising a pot of short ribs. When cooking together, you’re enjoying your time and creating visceral memories through smells and tastes that can be recreated and recalled with strong fondness. Cooking together is all about making a connection.
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4 thoughts on “Cooking as Intimacy”
My husband and I both like to cook, and even when it is just one of us doing the cooking we’ve usually collaborated on the menu or the prep.
It is a very intimate activity. I love your line “When you cook or bake food with love, it’s like sending a love letter in the mail”, that is exactly how I feel!
Oh thank you for chiming in! How awesome that you and your husband collaborate on the menu. I think it’s so much easier to cook for someone when we’ve discussed what we both feel like eating.
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