dinner time conversation, miscellaneous, drivel, sketches say it all, things I love, tom being tom

…cookbooks…

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I am working, yet again, on a cookbook. It has been a great thing to be doing, and certainly with the person I am doing it with, as they are someone who lives with and meets deadlines. There is no screwing around with this one, and as a result I am actually progressing towards a finished product.

It isn’t always easy being an artsy/fartsy type, prone to and in need of long hours of contemplation and inspiration. I realize what I am good at, how I do things, the manner in which I make things look easy in front of others. I am, admittedly, the person you hated in school, in college. The one who never studied, who showed up and took tests and got a better grade than you somehow, even when you spent weeks prior priming yourself for the endeavor, all while I was crafting plastic spoons into fake eyeballs and wearing plastic bags over my head claiming they make great toys… I do not work conventionally. Details make me shiver with a queer nausea, unless they are arbitrary and meaningless and taken in only as I deem them worthy of storing. Sometimes, I am lucky that they weave into something cohesive in the midst of a daydream.

I have a problem with cookbooks – not one, perhaps, but many. I know, it is universal only to me, likely. I don’t like being told what to do blindly without knowing why… I don’t like words – I don’t ‘see’ or think in words. I cannot fathom that others do. I am completely visually wired. If I watch someone do something – even a bit of it – I can imagine myself doing it too. Sometimes when I can’t, I can just reconstruct it for myself visually – imagining I am watching it being done. It is the way I transpose the world…

Lately – for at least the last decade – almost all of life has come in and been framed in reference to food, making it, dreaming of it, wondering about where it comes from, how people who are at the highest echelons got there – what sort of brain and inspiration they have. At the same time, I always gravitate to the lowest, most basic elements of it. How it come about, the storing and making of things before refrigeration or modern tools, the curing and keeping of a whole animal slaughtered, butchered, turned into parts to be used for a long while to come… The sort of mettle and soul of the people who turned something so basic and for sustenance into such a grand art… Therein lies the true beauty of what I seek.

I am thankful I grew up naked, for the most part, when it comes to cooking. I never had a box of recipes or a wealth of family meals that was handed off to me. I discovered it on my own, wondered what was genuine to me, where I was, what I could do with it. In a way – it is the ultimate sort of venture into love and passion and being grounded to where you are at any point or place…

It is the funny thing about love in this day and age. It is presupposed that you find it and know it early on in your life; in a career, in a mate, and you settle in and commit the rest of your life to it without waver. It’s as if we’ve failed, miserably, when we find that model just doesn’t work for us. It’s such a strange illusion to think that you know anything, really, at any point in your life, with any honesty. Life is a continuous journey, I am realizing, of constantly falling in love, constantly growing, constantly surrendering to where you are. You cannot love that which doesn’t make itself available to you…

Maybe it’s the conundrum of a cookbook in general – they’re too specific and they don’t teach you about learning and listening and smelling and finding the subtle differences, making them all work in some cohesive way for you, and the treasured band of friends you’ve assembled and gathered with. They are what someone else did, in another world, under different circumstances. They don’t take into account that every bit of food should be different wherever you are, if you are doing it right…

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