Bring out the pleasure of cooking

I have this love-hate thing going with the task of day-in and day-out cooking — which any seasoned cook will tell you, is an entirely different animal than that carefree-and-cookin’-cuz-I-wanna style of cooking. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to haul my lazy self into the kitchen and face the reality of what cooking on a regular basis really is: work. But once I’ve hit my stride and made a mental leap beyond the chaos the activity creates, and the time it eats up, well, the rewards do come.

The dividends can even start rolling in the moment the cutting board is brought to the counter. I feel a day’s worth of woes melting away as I focus on a single onion and the task of rearranging its structure into a pile of tiny pieces. If you really need to, you can step back at this point and admire your handy-work. It might be the most success you’ve had all day, and that’s something to appreciate.

And then add that into all of the other simple moments in a day that make us feel lucky to be alive. Those evanescent blips of happiness that register on your brain when you rediscover a tulip, or a puppy, or children at play. Indeed, at those simple moments a funny thing happens inside your brain. In the blink of an eye, that momentary blip of happiness is anchored to a bit of grey matter, and you become an even better person in the process.

Most of us move past such tiny epiphanies far too quickly. We forget that it’s the sum of all those wonderful little vignettes that make us whole.

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So as we head into spring, I encourage you to cook what you enjoy, and enjoy what you cook. There are rewards in that. With that in mind, here are a few more recipes to share with family and friends that just might set you on that path.

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, artist and author of “Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit,” and four other cookbooks. Readers can contact her by email at or find additional recipes and food tips on her blog at

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