More on What Makes A Good Cook?


In continuing the discussion of what makes a good cook, some connect it to their emotions and creative natures. Their cooking is an expression of the love that they feel.

Certainly this is a wonderful motivation, and, no doubt, part of the picture, but can a cook sustain herself solely on giving? Operating from this mindset can sometimes lead to burnout.

Some mentally assign cooking for their families as their job. Although this mindset can get you through some rough patches, ultimately we do a job because of what we get in return. Can you imagine hanging a sign on the fridge saying “Kitchen is Closed. Employee on strike.” (Hmmm, maybe we’re on to something here.) Although it is a job to cook for our families, cooking is not our job.

Let’s be real. We’re in it for the long haul. My friend Bev says it best; “a good cook never gives up trying”, and then adds “now a smart cook…that’s a different story. A smart cook sticks with what they know best and keeps repeating it!” And although we may think this approach leads to boredom and dissatisfaction, the truth is that this is the key to mastery.

Skill development is an essential ingredient to acquiring mastery and that means practice, practice, practice.

Robert Greene in his book, Mastery, writes in order to master a skill, we must learn to focus our concentration and that multitasking leads to the death of the process.

No wonder I often feel conflicted when I cook! On one hand I feel there is so much to do that I can’t possibly ever get it all done and on the other hand, that cooking gives me the opportunity to go inside myself and work on something I find fascinating.

I vote for more of the latter.

I enjoy making this week’s recipe, Braised Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Apples and Onions at this time of year. Shredding cabbage on my wooden board with the snow falling outside is meditative. The ingredients are simple, colourful and come together in a homey way.

Shabbat shalom,
Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada

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