A couple of weeks ago, a friend invited me over to make donuts with her. I had actually never made donuts before, so I was excited to learn how to make them directly from someone who knew how instead of just following a recipe by myself. I made some lavender & meyer lemon-infused sugar and brought this and some whole meyer lemons, and she made the dough. We ended up rolling most the donut holes in cinnamon and sugar, and glazed the donuts with a lemon glaze we made with the meyer lemons, topped with either the infused sugar or (my favorite!) crushed pistachios. I gotta say, there is nothing quite as yummy a fresh donut.
But the visit ended up being more than just making donuts. I hadn't seen this friend in a while, and it was nice to catch up with her. We talked about each of our ups and downs - where life had taken us since we last saw each other, and about goals and dreams for the future. As we cooked, we connected.
By the time I left (with a few full to-go bags of donuts for Mr. Domestique), not only was my tummy happy from the deliciousness we had cooked, but my heart was full of warmth and gratitude from meaningful time spent with a friend.
I thought about all those good feelings on the drive home that afternoon. I wondered if the feelings were somehow linked through the acts of learning and making, along with the connection of community.
Those thoughts reminded me of something I read in the introduction to Julia Turshen's latest cookbook, Now And Again:
"Food, after all, isn’t just something we eat. It’s a lens through which we can understand ourselves and all of the folks that came before us. It’s also the lens through which we can, remarkably, better understand one another. Cooking is an easy way to connect with people, both those you know and those who are different from you, on a regular basis."
I think Julia is actually talking about cooking and food in general, but read through the lens of cooking with someone, this quote summed up exactly how I was feeling after connecting with my friend. While it was fun and delicious to make the donuts, the true joy came from connecting through the act of the making. Something about making food together while we were chatting stuck with me more than going to a restaurant for dinner with a friend, or even having a friend over to my home for a meal that I prepared for us to eat.
This experience has inspired me to put more effort into connecting with friends through making something together. I think that making food together is a bonus because both your belly and your heart will be full, but really anything you are making together can bring joy and connection.
What are some things other than cooking that you can think of that would bring connection with friends while making it together? Let me know in the comments below!
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