The joy of cooking

The joy of cooking, we feel it, we write about it, and it’s the reason Ineke started Nourish – grow, cook, enjoy. This month we’ve been using the individual words of our brand name as our pillars, or a theme, for each week of November. Our brand name wasn’t the result of a brainstorming session with a big agency, it was created by us, about the things we love. This week we’re looking at why cooking is important to some of our favourite people and trying to find out where it’s enduring appeal comes from. 

As a nation we love to cook, perhaps we watch one of the many programmes about cooking, or go out and be cooked for in a restaurant (when we can). We hold dinner parties, we even have programmes about holding dinner parties, and then listen to podcasts about the perfect dinner party guests. But, what does cooking mean to you? 

For some it will be a necessity that isn’t enjoyed so much as endured, simply a seeking out of fuel. For many others it will be a way of relieving stress at the end of the day, or an outlet for creativity. It could be a way of getting your kids engaged with what’s on their plates. Or perhaps it’s a hobby that you share with a friend, or loved one, and you create things together. Maybe you learnt to cook at a loved one’s knee and now it’s your link to the past and a way of remembering someone? Perhaps you cook for competition, firing yourself up with the complexity of a Michelin starred dish. Or it could be that it’s just what you do everyday without thinking about it. Whatever reason it is, one thing is sure, it’s something we all do and can share with one another.

Here are just a few of our favourite people’s reactions to the question, ‘what does cooking mean to you?’, we hope you enjoy them and that maybe they inspire you in the kitchen too.

Lucinda Miller – Clinical Lead NatureDoc

“Spending time in the kitchen is proven to be good for body, mind and soul and also helps families build a positive relationship with food. It’s fun cooking together too, even if it does get a bit messier!”

Pauline Cox – Owner of Sow & Arrow, Author, Nutrition and Health Consultant

A couple of Pauline’s favourite quotes about how she feels about food. We love these and the 2nd one in particular resonates with us at the moment, while we all struggle a little to care for ourselves.

“The fork is mightier than pharma.”
“Cooking is an ritual that reinforces the message that you care enough about yourself to eat mindfully.”
“Cooking is an art. Bringing together Mother Nature’s colour palette and creating your own Masterpiece.”

Mike Duckworth – Founder, Nutcessity

‘We get a veg box each week from The Community Farm, just round the corner from us here in the Mendips. Me and my partner love it as it makes us try out new things – and new recipes! Cooking for me is a way of relaxing and taking things slow. As the nights draw in we’re talking more on the soup/stew side; maybe a spiced butternut squash soup, for example. Frank Sinatra is most probably on in the background, and, if it’s a weekend, a bottle of Merlot has been opened and poured!’

Neleta Winter – Nutritional Practitioner – Nourish Flourish Nutrition

‘One of the things I love about cooking is that it’s creative, mixing flavours, colours, textures that go well together on a plate and producing meals that are enjoyable, delicious and nutritious! Cooking allows me to create colourful fun foods that my whole family will enjoy. Knowing that everything is fresh, natural and wholesome.

As a nutritional practitioner as well, I understand the effects of different foods on our health and wellbeing. Which makes it even more important to cook and eat the foods that will help to support every part of our body but that doesn’t mean boring, it means unprocessed, natural, whole foods with lots and lots of colour and flavour.’ 

Kate Shilland – Sports Nutritionist @KateShilland and Pure Form Clinic

‘Cooking makes me think of home. My mum’s warm kitchen, feeding family & friends, making a mess and turning food into new tastes and flavours. Through work, I love cooking with athletes and showing them how fun & easy it can be to find tasty ways to nourish their bodies for health & performance. It’s an essential and very enjoyable life skill and it’s great seeing how much pride they take in what they’ve created.’

Ellerie Morgan – Nourish

Cooking for me is all about the satisfaction of finding or inventing recipes that are not only nutritious but that my family absolutely love and ask for more of. This doesn’t always happen with a 3- and 5-year-old though, but when it does there is nothing better than that feeling! With any time to myself, I will head straight to the kitchen to cook in peace. It’s literally the best thing ever! With either Netflix or just my mind as my friend I can happily get baking or chopping ready for the week ahead, and I get a great sense of accomplishment getting prepared for future meals and snacks!’

Kate Segal – Owner of Inside Out in Reigate and Nutritional Therapist

‘So what does cooking mean to me? Well if I am honest having started out enjoying cooking when I first got my own home. After many years of cooking for the boys, I had fallen out of love with it which may seem strange for a nutritional therapist! My husband is a very good cook and as at home he cooks most evenings which is lovely. However, over the last year or two I have enjoyed cooking again probably because I can come to it when I feel like it rather than out of necessity. I think the key for me is in the produce, knowing it is organic, hopefully relatively locally grown. With that base you can’t go wrong – in theory! so one of the greatest inspirations and pleasures for me in the kitchen has been the discovery of greener greens veg boxes which are just full of great produce that you can’t help feel inspired.

Life is very hectic owning a shop and I do like to try to find moments to regroup and feel grounded so I find the calming simple process of washing the vegetables , chopping and peeling very restful, using my hands, handling the veg, looking at the colours , cutting a cucumber that smells so fresh and with the true smell of cucumber really helps bring me back into the moment and stops my racing thoughts. With that assurance of good quality produce then I feel whatever I might scramble together, provided I don’t burn it or boil the life out of it,  I know it is full of vitamins and minerals. ‘

Amy – Nourishing Amy

‘Cooking is a way to relax and unwind, to be creative and to try new things! It’s my creative outlet as well as being my way to show friends and family how much they mean to me. Feeding others brings me so much joy!’

And a great one for right now from Nigella Lawson that really speak to us.

I think we all live in a world that is so fast-paced, it’s threatening and absolutely saturated with change and novelty and insecurity. Therefore, the ritual of cooking and feeding my family and friends, whoever drops in, is what makes me feel that I’m in a universe that is contained.

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