The most overlooked ingredient: Vitamin L

Some of the best cooking that I do is in community with others.

Some cookbook authors REALLY like to create and cook solo.. I need collaborators, someone to taste or weigh in. Even if it’s my puppy! Or my more seasoned 3-year old Portuguese Water Dog, Lola.

These are my beautiful canine companions/children, and I am their devoted mom. Lola’s new sister and bestie, Blossom, has been with us for less than a month. And while Lola is more of a flower child, fond of romping outside, Blossom (be still my heart!) is already proving to be an ideal companion in the kitchen.

How do I know? Listen to this:

She loves basil! One of her new duties as a kitchen dog is to accompany me on herb picking forays into our garden. She heads to the bed of basil and just sits there, smelling it. Mmmmmm! She’s an herb girl!

She has a sophisticated sense of food. Nose to the ground, she smells every little morsel, every bowl, every plate. And she even loves to sniff my hands after I’ve been cooking!

She’s terrific at clean up. When anything drops on the floor, she’s there  -- an absolute MUST for a kitchen dog.

She’s very careful not to get in the way. This is very important for a kitchen assistant -- man, woman, or beast. She’s got this one nailed.

She’s very calm. Zen, one might say, very quiet and understated. I can be working on anything, and she lays there quietly and patiently, offering that ineffable, nourishing ingredient, companionship.

I think this is the most important thing that many people miss about cooking: Vitamin L.

Health is so much MORE than eating the perfect food, exercising the exact right amount, or analyzing whether something is going to be good for you. We’re so restricted in our society in how we think about food. We count calories in, calories out. We stress about the diet we’re on or if the foods we eat daily are OK -- when the role of community, which is paramount, is often totally overlooked.

Really, this is where the joy is.

Whenever there’s good energy in the kitchen, there’s good food to be had. Whether it’s your kids, your dogs, your cat, your best friend… There’s something nourishing about company that completes the circle.

And it translates directly into the food.

My good friend and I were recently in my kitchen cooking for a lot of people. The puppies were in the kitchen, and we were in the groove, in the slot. She said, I always feel so calm here in your kitchen, and my food always turns out better.

Go ahead and say I’m being very hippy dippy about this! But answer me this: what’s that thing about your grandmother’s cooking that you try really hard to replicate, but you can’t? Vitamin L brings us comfort, and is really what brings us health on a cellular level.

In my kitchen, my wonderful energy is two dogs! How could I not cook well with all that love?

COMMENT BELOW AND LET ME KNOW: WHAT DOES COMMUNITY LOOK LIKE IN YOUR KITCHEN? WHAT BRINGS WONDERFUL ENERGY? WHAT ARE YOUR CHALLENGES IN CREATING COMMUNITY? WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS?