Caring for the ones we love. Through food. What an expression of love that can be. It doesn't require the most expensive ingredients in the world either. The whole basis of the caring is in the planning of a meal within the budget that you can afford then going out and choosing the ingredients to execute the dish.
Then part of all this becomes putting you into the dish. By you, I mean your heart and soul. You've carefully planned and shopped and it's time to start the creative process.
Cooking versus baking (which you must follow the directions completely as written as there is a science to it) is taking a recipe and making it your own. That's the creative process. Tweaking more or less on a spice, switching one of the ingredients for a different one, that sort of thing. Making the dish fit your pallet or what you know your family will eat is the heart and soul part. You are thinking of them.
The fact that you are striving to execute the dish to perfection is heart. It is soul. You want the end product to look good and of course taste good. Some recipes are what people refer to as "food of love". These are the ones that take time to cook and simmer until the flavors meld together in perfect harmony with one another. Then after simmering there may be taking a lid off to allow liquid to evaporate and to concentrate the many savory ingredients that have been blended together.
You are the master of the dish. Starting with a blank canvas and building layer upon layer. Sometimes I do feel like an artist in the kitchen. The food is my canvas, my cooking utensils my paint brushes and the spices are the colors.
While for some cooking is taxing or tedious - a job that you have to do; for others like me it is relaxing and enjoyable. A writer writes. Words flow from the mind to the page uniting thoughts and igniting the imagination of the reader. One who cooks assembles elements of a dish in a specific order to produce succulent, pleasing and satisfying bites to those that wait on the other end of the aroma wafting through the air.
This pleases me to please people through food. I never mind "laboring" over a dish to serve family and friends, especially when I see that what I have prepared has made a connection with them and they feel good about what they just ate. The expressions, the mm mm good thing.