Yes. Yes, I do. Let me start by stressing this, once and for all: I do not eat Michelin starred food morning, noon and night, even if this seems to be the word around the campfire. I have encountered several tidings, both first- and second hand, about my alleged eating habits, and from the looks of my social accounts I guess I can kind of see why, but it is simply not the case. Not that I don’t appreciate it because I do, but I prefer the basic stuff.
In fact, I probably cook ninety percent of the food I consume. Growing up in the rural Southern parts of Denmark where the wonders of take-out wasn’t introduced to the area until I was in my early teens, if one wanted to eat, one would have to get those paws dirty.
I honestly didn’t participate much in the dinner prep at home, I mostly just complained about the (to everyone else delicious) food that was being served, and it wasn’t until I left home and became my own nutritional responsibility, that I developed an interest in cooking.
I started out simple; spaghetti with tomato/vegetable sauce, quiches, curry fried rice with vegetables… Nothing fancy. Becoming a vegetarian at age 19, I wasn’t always on-point with the proteins, but I got by.
Cooking was designed for surviving, and of course a gateway to self-treating, so many years - and a lot of growing up - went by before I truly began enjoying the process of cooking. Often more than actually eating the meal.
Today is a different beast. One would perhaps be inclined to think that, given my profession and my being around food virtually all the time, would put me off wanting to spend time in my own kitchen, but it’s quite the opposite. Few things make me happier than spending time with chefs and food-savvy friends, learning and familiarizing myself with techniques, asking myriads of questions.
I believe I can count on two hands the number of times I have cooked from a recipe. I absorb fragments of knowledge here and there, to store in my mind and apply later. This allows me to think creatively about something other than photography, and it’s a cool brain-exercise. The outcome may for certain vary in quality, but a foundation to tweak and try again is always laid.
To me, cooking serves as a welcome stress-reliever, and I find it extremely therapeutic. I can easily spend four hours on a dish that realistically shouldn’t take more than an hour to make, and while I love having people over for dinner, I actually prefer cooking for and by myself, which to some may seem purposeless.
Cooking is a beautiful way of hitting pause and turning inward. Much contrary to my younger self, older me will take a bag of groceries and a bottle (is it more pc to say a glass? Fine, I’ll say a glass) of white over the club any day of the week. It’s amazing how much uninterrupted thinking you can get done while picking herbs and chopping vegetables. I cherish those long evenings of solitude, and I find my mind wandering off in new unexplored directions, often resulting in at least a few new ideas for projects that I’ll later on dive deeper into. (Perhaps this is also why it takes me forever to cook a simple meal - I constantly have to put down the knife and run to make a note on whatever piece of ink-absorbent I have lying around).
I have two major passions in life - and a bunch of smaller ones - but next to photography music is my greatest passion. I often utilize these little breaks from reality to (re-)familiarize myself with a full-length album that I have been neglecting. Either one that has meant an immense deal to me in the past, or a new acquisition - yes, I’m one of those suckers who actually still buy music - that I haven’t yet had time to get acquainted with. I listen to music every waken hour, but often it’s fragmented and interrupted by work, phone calls, meetings, and all those other disturbing elements of everyday life. In these situations I can smother myself in the melodies and voices with sharpened attention, the way music is supposed to be experienced. Go on, turn off that shuffle function and give it a try!
Okay, I know I’m not exactly dropping a major shocker here, but one of the things I love the most about living in NYC is the constant exposure to new cuisines (I mean, this pretty much applies to any and all New Yorker)! Anywho, it’s safe to say that when I left Copenhagen five years ago, I had never tasted Vietnamese Pho before. I’m not saying it wasn’t available, but partly due to the fact that I had for the most parts mostly worked on the finer dining scene, and partly because my curiosity back then didn’t really extend far beyond sea buckthorn and ramson, it just wasn’t something I had come across. Shooting a job for a vegan meal kit service a few years back I tasted it for the first time, and it went on my list of foods I would try to wrestle at home. I started noticing little bits and pieces here and there about its cooking methods, and I finally felt comfortable enough to give it a go.
The result was decent - not amazing - but the groundwork has been laid for refining and developing, and next time it’ll be better. And the time after that, even better yet.
When an evening of cooking comes to a close I’m often tired and full from nibbling, and the meal itself doesn’t really interest me anymore. But that’s when the brilliant concept of leftovers is introduced, and we all know that those are pretty. much. the. best.