Cooking is not my gift, but I like the idea of it...

 F resh tomatoes from our garden, tossed with chopped, homegrown basil, and balsamic vinegar, sea salt & olive oil (I can't cook, but I can combine).
Fresh tomatoes from our garden, tossed with chopped, homegrown basil, and balsamic vinegar, sea salt & olive oil (I can't cook, but I can combine).

Somehow, the ability to cook well skipped a generation in my family. Both of my grandmothers were pros in the kitchen: Dad's mom made delectable Italian food, Mom's mom prepared meals for business men at the General Motors Building in Manhattan, and my own mother always put something delicious on the table (and still does) for her growing family.

Me and my sisters? We don't burn the house down when we cook, and we're good at following recipes, but we just don't have the interest, experience, confidence or natural skill of our mother and grandmothers.

I know that practice would help, and I've had enough victories in the kitchen -- times when my husband has said, genuinely, "This is the best thing you've ever made" -- to keep me from quitting it altogether and declaring that our family will just eat takeout every night (although Trader Joe's, our local farmer's markets and Vietnamese restaurants are good friends of mine). But I definitely envy people with culinary savvy.

I was recently invited to pen a guest post for the Juvo "Live Actively" blog, and in brainstorming about topic ideas, the Juvo team and I settled on this one: cooking as a way for seniors to stay active. Despite my low culinary self-esteem, I'm really happy with the post. Here's an excerpt:

"Cooking is a full-body, all-sensory experience. Everything about it is engaging, and it doesn’t have to be a hobby for this to be true. The brain is activated: reading or recalling a recipe from memory, gathering the necessary ingredients, timing all the elements, organizing and prioritizing tasks. The body is on the move: hands kneading dough, arms and upper body reaching for the spice rack, feet shuffling across the floor between the stovetop, countertop and sink. All the while, the scents and sounds of preparation (boiling water, a sizzling saucepan of onions, the wafting aroma from the oven) and the warmth of the stove fills the kitchen, spilling out into adjoining rooms. And of course, every cook and assistant must taste test their concoctions along the way..."

Read the rest here: Cooking: 15 Tips for The Quintessential Senior Living Activity