I have always considered myself to be a smart guy – creator of ideas, an orator, whatever. The fact is, though, that I get the best satisfaction in my life out of doing things. I have always felt a great sense of accomplishment in doing dishes, for example. There is a certain satisfaction in having a task that is clear and simple seen through to completion. Amongst other things, I get this from cooking.
Cooking can become a unifying philosophy for your life. Want to be frugal? Shop and cook according to frugal principles. Care about the environment? Obtain local foods. Care about your health? Focus on organics. Want to make a stand against cruelty? Go vegetarian. Whatever your intention is for your life, the way you approach food can resonate.
The corollary is that you need to make sure that your approach to food is complimentary to your life. I love to grill, for example, and occasionally I like meat. I have some reservations about eating meat that have dogged me for years – I avoid meat when possible, but I do still eat it. I do make a point of avoiding preservatives and growth hormones and foods that are blatantly injurious to my world view (I avoid certain types of over-fished fishes, for example).
I think if you are serious about money, you will be serious about food. If you are serious about self-actualization, you will be serious about food. If you are serious about the world around you, you will be serious about food. If you are not serious about food, then you are dismissing some of the key aspects of this world. If you are content to grab crap from a fast-food place without consideration of your needs (health at the least) then you may be able to just move along without serious self-contemplation.
With two kids under 3 years old, I am as guilty as anyone of eating a hurried meal. I still find that when I have time to cook (or when Bubelah cooks) that a meal prepared with some creativity and some interest in ingredients and style will uplift the spirit and define something of the person that made it. I think anyone can do it – but few people can live it.