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cooking for yourself, with love

I have to admit, I am a naturopathic doctor who loves to cook, but I have had my days of finding it really, very really, hard to cook for myself. It has been a life-long journey for me discovering why that is, what is my relationship to food, and particularly, to feeding myself. I am someone with a very good appetite, but sometimes I get so pre-occupied in work, or sometimes I just don't feel like making something for myself. However, if someone was coming over for dinner, no problemo! Cooking for me represents a way to show how much I love and care for someone. I also take pleasure in perfecting what I make, and challenging myself to make it tasty, healthy, and interesting.

There are all kinds of sayings as why people have more trouble cooking for themselves versus others. And it is generally accepted as ok. However, I would challenge that it is not ok. In fact, it is very important to be able to cook for oneself. To plan well, to make just enough but not too much, to have the energy and skill set to motivate oneself. I was the height of this thought after my mom, who has been a great influence in my life for cooking, purchased a cook book for me called Solo. While I did not know what to make of this gesture (!), and I have yet to open it, it did inspire me to start thinking and cooking for myself.

Recently I have discovered of an idea that has helped shape this concept. I volunteered at Robin des Bois, a restaurant in Montreal that allows anyone and everyone to help out in the kitchen. It was a lovely experience being surrounded by nice people and all the kitchen utensils, a huge fridge of fresh herbs, aromas, cooking, and participation in new recipes. I worked pretty hard for 4 hours straight. It was very pleasant to feel and know that I was cooking for a bunch of people. Unlike the dinners I prepare at home, this one I did not get the pleasure of seeing their reactions to my prepared food, or if they like the recipe. However, it just didn't matter. I was just as happy with that feeling that I did not need to know the result.

Several weeks after this experience, I find myself re-inspired to cook for myself, and finding that same motivation I had at the restaurant. And I had a little idea (that may work for some): that cooking for others DOES help you cook for yourself. And this experience, the support of the restaurant team, learning new tricks from the staff, watching them in their skills, can teach us how to be more effective in the kitchen. How to get ourselves standing and chopping fresh fruits and vegetables, and a lot of garlic and onions! And so, with this thought, if you have trouble cooking for yourself, I would suggest you try out a day or two at Robin des Bois. Not only is it fun and fast paced, the food there is super yummy! And the recipes are interesting. I have no doubt you will learn a new thing or two and will be happier in the kitchen, cooking for yourself or others. Click on the picture to visit their website (no endorsement made, I am writing this blog from my own desire to help others want to cook too!).

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