How to Be Happy

person cookingWhen former Poet Laureate Charles Simic was asked in New York Times interview: “What advice would you give to people who are looking to be happy,” Simic replied, “For starters, learn how to cook.”

I would only add, learn how to cook accompanied by a glass of wine.

Why would an accomplished poet think cooking is the key to happiness?

Food of course is fuel and an element of good health. But it matters that we create that fuel ourselves. The troubles of life seem a little more distant after pulling together a pot of soup. And of course time spent hovering over a stove is time you’re not spending fighting traffic, gazing distractedly at the TV or banging away at the keyboard.

But the most important reason to cook is that attentive cooking provides ample opportunity to practice respect—respect for the people you cook for, respect for your ingredients, and self-respect. That such a simple, uncomplicated, routine activity can provide an occasion for such regard is the key to the connection to happiness.

The world would be a better place if we spent more time at the stove.

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