Apparently baking takes the blues away. Maybe that’s why you rarely see an angry cook. Remember the chef on TV who espoused the healthy virtues of wine while he threw together magnificently fat laden dishes? His name was Graham Kerr and he hosted a show called The Galloping Gourmet.
I was a teenager when the show ran but I remember his antics. I wonder if his gastronomically good-natured attitude had any influence for my love of food? Now that I recall Kerr’s episodes, I might try some of his more interesting recipes such as grapefruit crab or einschmeckerrole (yes, that’s a real recipe that involves ham and veal).
Another hilarious cook I admired growing up was Julia Child. The legendary chef introduced us into the world of French cooking while wielding a 12-inch chef’s knife or swinging a 15-pound turkey by the legs. Her loud and effervescent personality was the cherry on top.
There have been plenty of parodies about her dominance in the food business. Saturday Night Live actor Dan Aykroyd’s famous chicken scene comes to mind. I have two of her cookbooks “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” volumes 1 and 2 and because of her I can produce a perfect rich and creamy beurre blanc with almost as much gusto.
Getting back to banishing the blues through food. A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows people who partake in creative projects like baking and cooking feel better in their every day lives. It turns out kitchen therapy may help treat depression and anxiety and even eating disorders. I suppose that’s because when we prepare homemade goods we’re feeling like we’re doing something healthy for our bodies.
Cooking can also give you a sense of power and control. You control what ingredients go in the pot and you have the power to make it worth eating. In addition, when we’re cooking we’re concentrating on the task at hand and not mulling over our problems. I bet we all agree there’s nothing wrong with that.
My mother was a great cook and a happy one. She watched Kerr and Julia and passed her passion for the culinary arts on to me. In fact, mom learned to speak French in the process. Julia ended her television lessons with the wish, “Bon appetit.” Mom used that expression quite regularly. But most importantly, she said it with a great big smile.
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