Have you ever noticed that the food we cook always tastes better or worse according to our moods? Regardless of using the exact same recipes, the exact same methods, I think that mood has a profound effect on the outcome of a dish.
I want to be out of my covered in food chefs uniform, all showered and clean. I need to be sitting at a table in a chair like a normal person eating dinner, without the pressures of rushing and running around to close all the stations of the kitchen. Clean, comfortable, and being pressure-free is what I need to really eat eat. That is usually why I prefer skipping family meal and waiting until I get home. I need that solitude and comfort in order to fully digest my food and be satiated.
So anyways….when I get home and am badly in need of a real meal, and am in no mood to cook, I will usually make something simple that’s yet to be filling. To me, jjigae (Korean soup/stew) is one of my biggest comfort foods. And most are really filling and simple to make. I can put it in the fridge and eat it for days. As simple as a lot of jjigaes are, when I half-ass to cook it after a long day, the taste of it does not turn out nearly as tasty as it does on days when I put some love into it (like when I am in a good mood and making it for others that I want to feed something yummy to).
I hadn’t eaten all day long. When the night finally ended, I came home ready to eat for ten people. I was starving. I was weak, I was grouchy. I was about to die. The guys at work made fried chicken and french fries that night. But I really wasn’t in the mood to eat fried food. I wanted something soupy (if you’ve read my other posts, you know that I love soothing soupy stuff). I decided on soon tofu. After I washed up (because you know I can’t eat while I am dirty and covered in food lol), I went into the kitchen and barely managed to cook it. I just wanted, no..needed to eat. I didn’t care about it tasting fabulous. I just needed fuel for my slowly dying self. I half-assed through it. I barely had enough energy to eat.
Soon tofu is a dish I make fairly often. It’s soupy and spicy, so how can I not love it?! Unlike when I am making this dish for myself solely for survival purposes, when I make this dish for others to enjoy, I actually do put some love into it. And people have told me that mine tastes better than most soon tofu joints. When I am in the mood to cook at home, it’s usually when I am happy and well rested…and of course NOT BEHGOPA!!! Cooking in a good mood, with love, always produces food that tastes yummy. You can just taste the love that was put into it. Cooking with love really does seem to make a world of difference. It’s like I can taste my own mood in my own cooking.
My boss always tells me, “Be sure to make it with love,” or “Make love with your food.” Like with my home-cooking, when I am half-assing through the motions on those nights when I am not in a good mood or just not in a working mood, he notices the lack of love that is missing from the plate. Well, these days, I have gotten better at hiding it (or faking it lol). But seriously, when I am in a good mood and putting more love into my dishes, they always look and taste so much better.
Personally, I think my food tastes best when cooking at home for friends/family. Cooking for diners is for business. They are strangers…people I could care less about, people whose faces I don’t even see. You want them to love your food, so you cook to impress. But in the end, it still comes down to doing it for monetary purposes.