observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Cooking is Like Love

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” ~Harriet van Horne

I love that quote. Some people who know me might wonder why it appeals to me because I can often grumble about cooking. You see, at my age, I often do find cooking a chore. But then there are days when I do it more as a gesture of love. This is another creative outlet that comes from my mother. She often said she wasn’t a good cook but I always disagreed; she may not have had a lot of creative ideas for variety but what she did cook was utterly delicious — and made with love.

A few weeks ago I was making potato salad — something my mom made better than anyone I know — and naturally I thought of her. She would spend hours-upon-hours cooking, dicing, making her own dressing, tossing and tasting until it was just-so. As if that wasn’t enough, she went to all the trouble of making pretty little flowers out of radishes, cucumbers, and onions and would decorate the entire top of her salad with them. I sure wish I would have thought to take a photo of one of those creations.

Since I’m making an effort to write about some of my life, besides photography, I decided to share more posts about the food in my life.

A few days ago when my husband was out of town, I took hold of the opportunity for a light and meatless meal. I made a really tasty salad (photo above) of shredded curly lettuce, diced fresh tomato, diced onion, sliced avocado, cumin, coriander, pepper, and a generous squeeze of lime and of lemon (I always use fresh; never that phony stuff in a bottle.) It was so full of flavour despite not having any fresh cilantro on hand.

Last night’s meal was a real dandy but I didn’t take any pictures. To redeem myself, I do have a recipe to share. Unless I’m baking sweets I almost never use a recipe. There are numerous recipe books in my kitchen cupboard but I tend to use them as inspiration for something new or different, especially if I’m in a cooking slump. Yesterday I knew I was making pork tenderloin and I wanted to use the fresh rosemary my husband brought home from Edmonton. I remembered seeing a recipe once for pork with cranberry and rosemary so I plugged that into Google. I found 3 recipes that appealed and this one for Rosemary Pork Chops with Cranberry, Rosemary, and Port ended up being my primary inspiration. Of course I made a few of my own minor adjustments (didn’t use the chicken stock, for instance). It was easy to make and turned out so delicious I was wishing we had company so I could show off! That means I highly recommend it. If you’re wondering what I served it with … a loaf of artisan Turkish bread plus I made a bowl of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) emulsified with a rich balsamic vinegar and fresh garlic. I also made one of my summer salads. These vary every day depending on what I have on hand but last night I diced up red pepper, white onion, cucumber, tomato and sprinkled with a pinch of basil, oregano, and pepper. Needless to say it was all delish and I most definitely ate far too much!

Today is meatless but I know my husband will love it. I’m making rosemary pan bread (from scratch of course), hummus with my own little twist, and a tomato-avocado salad. We’ll have a nice dry but fruity white wine (yet to be selected). So that’s about it for my discussion on food. What’s for dinner at your place?


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Dolly Dennis - July 29, 2011 - 1:24 pm

I so relate to this blog on cooking. I hate to cook and swear in my next life I will have my own personal chef. However, for special occasions and, if I’m feeling creative, I’ll try out new recipes but I’m not self confident in just throwing something together. My son loves everything I cook and thinks I’m a good cook. Hubby is a meat and potatoes Albertan kind of guy and is not adventurous in trying exotic foods. Sometimes, he’ll say, “let’s not have this again” and I’ll say, “you don’t have to eat it then. Go get your hamburger.” 🙂 I have had failures though in my attempts to try out new recipes. So I’m envious of a couple of women I know whose husbands are chefs. Sigh!

Puna - August 2, 2011 - 8:08 pm

Sounds like a wonderful meal. I love to cook. It is a way for me to show love. Tonight it’s justy son and I. I made a sandwich and left overs. Still wonderful.

Deborah Carr - August 3, 2011 - 2:58 pm

I, too, often find cooking a tedious chore…it’s the thinking about what to cook, the search for recipes, ensuring I have all the right ingredients on hand (no grocery store handy)…but beneath all this, I really do like to cook. If only we didn’t have to do it EVERY night!

I know already that your recipes are delish – thanks for sharing. Just so happens, I have all these ingredients on hand…and was just looking at another recipe with ‘EVOO’…and was about to Google it…now I know what it means! Thanks Diane!