A ski instructor once told me since he started skiing, he thinks about it even when he isn’t really thinking about it. He might stand on an escalator almost unconsciously moving the right way, exercising muscles on the off-season. You might have had the same experience when you’re learning a new language or skill, like Yoga or knitting.
Now that I’m almost always cooking with partners, I’ve found that without thinking about it, I cook a bit differently too. When my friend Kathy couldn’t make it to cook at the last minute a few days ago, I looked around my kitchen. I’ve gotten in the habit of being much more organized when cooking with friends, so we can be fast and talk without ruining the food. I had a couple questions on the dish I’d been waiting to ask her. Who should I ask now, I thought. Even when I’m cooking by myself now (not that often) I think about things as if I had a friend there.
I’ll often bring my kids or husband into the process now, asking someone to run out to the garden for some herbs or if they think two flavors would be good together. I guess my communal cooking muscles are in good use.