There is indeed a psychological interrelation between cooking and writing. Even now, I feel strongly inclined to assert that this correlation transcends the psychological and, of an objective certainty, extends into the physical, having observed with perspicacity the unassailable similitude in the processes of the duo. I would know, for circumstances have consistently compelled me to partake in both writing and cooking, as though they were the compulsive rituals of an ‘imole’, the awe-inspiring messenger of Eleedua, that Supreme Being who folklores say has chosen the ancient town of Ife as His foothold. I digress? Excusez-moi!
If I might crave your indulgence, shall we start this analysis from the very genesis? While it could be conceived that innumerable are the inducements that are capable of prompting an individual to cook or write, a spur stands distinct from all others, like a unicorn in a herd, irrestible yet hardly suppressible, a perpetual companion of man from the beginning: hunger, that discomforting feeling of emptiness and longing to be filled. More than any other reason, we cook to satiate ourselves and others. In other words, hunger often fires man to move his lazy ass to the kitchen- maybe even a cafeteria, depending on the state of his pocket and his immediate condition. This is same with writing.
Writers have come to accept their fate, that when the overwhelming urge sweeps in like an avalanche, they have but two options: to either enter their kitchens of creativity and prepare delectable dishes of words or avail themselves the unmitigated pleasure of being served in a figurative cafeteria the said dishes of words, prepared by another whose culinary skills might or might not have been attested. Some of us prefer the taste of food that leaves our kitchen though, just as we meticulously borrow from the recipes and condiments of others. This is how cooking and eating out relate with writing and reading.
How do we cook then? Do we grab a magic wand, sway it back and forth and a steaming pot of beans materialises from zilch? I so wish. To cook, with the knowledge of or accessible reference to the recipe, we sort the utensils and get the ingredients, spices and foodstuffs ready. One after the other, we make use of these available things, following set procedures, with the liberty to decide what quantity of each condiment we desire, until our delicious meal is done. This is the code of writing as well, and perhaps same for many other aspects of arts. As one combines letters to form words, and words to form sentences, one would often pause to read and examine previously constructed paragraphs, to check the spellings, tenses, vocabulary and flow, just the same way a cook would pause to ladle some soup on his palm and lick.
Here, as I write, I am presently smiling at the pot of vegetable soup I cooked last evening, the envy of my hostelmates who keep coming plate-in-hand to seek an expression of my generosity. I oblige some if I like the look of their pleading faces, and I decline others for reasons as ridiculous as their obsequiousness and the vehemence of their persuasion. Obe efo mi saa ni; I can do with it as I please. Besides that, however, I reminisce over the sense of joy and accomplishment I had felt as I concluded the cooking, seeing that my efforts had not been futile. It is the same feeling I have when I finish writing a story- that excitement that your work can now become a cynosure, that the world can now have a peep into your mind, to stare at its fascinating ideas, its entertaining weirdness and perhaps confusion. Writing is fun; so is cooking.
Writing and cooking are similar, my dear. You may quote me. I said so.