What is cooking? In the literal sense, cooking is the preparation of food for eating by subjecting heat (as by boiling, baking, frying, etc.). However, through reading Like Water for Chocolates, by Laura Esquivel and the poem What s That Smell in the Kitchen? by Marge Percy, cooking is not merely the act of preparing food by applying heat. No, cooking, through their eyes, is an art expressed through feelings and emotions. What results, then, becomes the dish itself.
In Like Water for Chocolates, Tita is described as a culinary master. Through her thoughts and emotions, she is able to create food expressed as a form of art. Cooking, in her sense, is not merely a task, but also a way of displaying her inner self. The novel shows distinctive results of her works as regarding to emotions. When she creates the Chabela Wedding Cake, we are shown a work of culinary art represented through sorrow and grief. Thus, the results become a depiction of her melancholy self, bringing forth sorrow and sickness to others. Yet, when she creates the Champandongo or the illustrious Chilies in Walnut Sauce, we are shown a different type of exposition. Her work is then a result of love and passion, bringing forth joy and affection to those who partake of the meal. In the novel, we are shown food presented in different aspects of sensations, each bringing forth her true personalities.
In What s That Smell in the Kitchen? the act of preparing food is also expressed through feelings and emotions. However, in this poem, we can only see one specific emotion created. Such is the feeling of anger. Throughout the poem, cooking can only be seen as a task. Thus, with such a realization, women display the expression of anger through their cooking. Now, instead of creating food as something sensible or desirable, we can only see food as sickening to the eye and unpleasing to the palette. In such a way of cooking, we are shown art resulting from anger. Anger of one s spouse or anger of an adversary. Each piece of culinary art here is designed to displease those that share in its apportion.
Where my family comes from, cooking is an art and the final product is its result. As a child born of an Asian family, food comes in a boundless variety. This is because food, in the Asian perspective, is not merely meant to satisfy one s hunger. It is the effect of one s character being revealed. On the other hand, the one s to share in the joys of eating such works receives the ideals and mood of the cook. Thus, it is often that we invite people out to eat. Through such invitations, we show them gratitude, friendship, and social intimacy. We do not only wish to satisfy them with a full stomach. Rather, we intend to joys of a wonderful meal.
What then is the connection between cooking and emotions? Through these readings, we see that the connection is just to food itself. It becomes a masterpiece and a model of its creator. The judgement of the food is left to those who share in its work.