…why I cook, part II…


I read obscure things – listen to them often as audiobooks while I’m cooking – and always find the diversion fascinating… There is one book that always comes back to the beginning of the playlist – a book that I never tire of listening to over and over; Defying Hitler, by Sebastian Hafner. Included on the list of fascinating stories; The Phantom Major by Virginia Cowles; Spycraft, by Robert Wallace; See No Evil, by Robert Baer – the latter two stories about the inner workings of the CIA and espionage…

I’m not a war freak, or into spying, or really particularly fascinated with Hitler. In fact, I find all of it on some level completely depressing – mostly what I find interesting is the lengths that we as a society – ‘peaceful’, freedom loving societies – will go to for the sake of war; all the freakish effort put into figuring out how to understand others so we can manipulate, torture, and possibly kill them if we think we need to…

I’ve always thought – when I began cooking and thinking about trying to do something with it, about simply wanting to infect other people with the same sense of joy that it brought me – that I wanted to start some other sort of revolution. I wanted to, and still do, corrupt people into my way of thinking and living. Thinking of it now, I realize why more than ever. It’s that people spend such little time and energy on cultivating love for each other, or love for a moment, or making anything as special as it might possibly be.

It’s the reason why I find such happiness in doing things the long way – cooking down onions for 5 or 6 hours in some butter while simmering 2 quarts of an apple cider and cider vinegar gastrique into a few tablespoons of syrup to stir into them at the end… I love putting that sort of freakish effort into seeing strangers and old friends enjoy something they’ve never had, and likely won’t ever have unless it’s at my table. I love knowing that I’ve spent the time and energy on something good – or at least better – for the world.

And there is some intangible element about cooking this way; simply investing time and effort into anything that makes it so much better; it’s worth it to know how to make a roux, or to see what a simple onion can become if left to caramelize and sweeten with mild heat and a little tending. There’s no shortcut that can replicate any of it – and there’s no reason to seek one…

I am the antithesis of all the things I listen to on occasion – I want to spend my life getting people whipped into a frenzy of love and dancing and happiness instead of fear, paranoia, and pessimism…



One thought on “…why I cook, part II…

  1. Well done…

    Posted by seabreezelouise | August 9, 2011, 6:29 pm

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