I'm not a great cook. I'm a pretty good cook. I'm a very slow cook. But boy do I love it. There's just something about taking a recipe, a pile of ingredients, a drawer of cooking tools, then chopping, sauteeing and stirring, bring it to boil, drain it and -viola!- something delicious.
For me, it's the perfect mix of science and art. You take a formula and finite ingredients, add in creativity and passion and you have a seeming unending variety of results.
As I've grown 'older,' I've learned that my tolerance for ambiguity has decreased. I want to know what the expectations are before I start a project. Some friends who sat in classes with me can attest to my frustration at vague assignments. Give me a checklist and I'm uber comfortable performing the task because I know what the parameters are. That's why I love following recipes and collecting good cooking tools (like Pampered Chef's :-)).
But there's still this starving artist in me, who wants to be unique and put some originality into anything that's going to have my name on it. And I crave feedback (hint hint). Cooking often offers that flexibility with a recipe and usually I can get instant feedback if people keep eating my dish, or come back for seconds.
Cooking also satisfies that bit of me that likes to make order of chaos. Here is an ugly, bulbous pepper, and after a few minutes with my knife, it's a pretty pile of colorful, evenly sized bits. I own plenty of Pampered Chef tools that make chopping and slicing easier and faster. But I usually opt for the good ol' knife and cutting board. The repetition and rhythm are soothing to my cluttered thoughts. When all else has gone wrong during the day, when it comes down to me and that tomato, I can win.
I'd love to hear what you love about cooking or whatever it is that feeds your soul.