Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Selfish Cook

I believe I’ve mentioned here before that, through past research and more recent observations, I’ve realized that people who love to cook fall into two utterly distinct categories. For the first, the people who love cooking because they love providing for and taking care of others, an audience is an absolutely necessary ingredient for gratification. You just can’t take care of someone who’s not there.

But for the second, those selfish cooks who do it for the love of the process and for the food itself, someone to cook for is merely icing on the proverbial cake. Again, as I have mentioned before, I am one of these cooks. The selfish sort.

Sure, it’s always wonderful to hear about what a good cook I am, or how beautifully my table’s been set, but really, the rush I get from cooking peaks before any guest has a chance to comment on my creation. Just before, in fact. At the final moment I am in the kitchen, after I’ve plated the food, arranging it in artful, yet uncontrived, and always aesthetically pleasing jumbles on my pristine white plates. That last second I’m alone, before the meal shifts from personal to social. That is when the endorphins are highest. As much as I love sitting around a dinner table, drinking wine, talking and eating, it’s the moments just before, effort expended, next minutes filled with potential, that make entertaining worth it.

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