Wednesday, September 24, 2008
We have our first meeting today with the publishers for a cookbook we are beginning to write. I'm a bit nervous to say the least. Jen and I don't want to write just another collection of recipes. We want to write a cookbook that teaches people how to cook from within themselves. Cooking should is not cooking as long as you copy recipes and make them like a machine. There are two types of cooking. The first is the most basic. Take something and apply heat, very simple. There is also no life found in that type of cooking. As shameful as it is, I have worked with professional cooks who approach food in this same fashion. Cooks who either never had passion or lost it long ago. This is not cooking as we want to teach people. The second way to cook is to approach it with love and passion. When we do this it is translated onto the plate. I love nothing more than seeing amateur cooks who have a passion for cooking. I am convinced that if you take a passionate amateur cook and pit her against a pro with no passion, the amateur will at worst equal the quality of the pro. Passion adds something to the plate. For the professional cook the quality of the dish is all that matters. People are paying for our services and we have to deliver on them. It matters not if we don't feel like cooking today or if we lost the passion to cook long ago. But, and I say this with conviction, for the amateur cook I would argue that quality takes a back seat to approach. I think it is more important for the amateur cook to focus on his approach to cooking and let quality come as it will. With practice, quality will come, but if you come to the kitchen with quality as the only goal then you will quickly burn out and not come back. Plus, life is such a pace that I want to see cooks all over spend their time in the kitchen as a fulfilling time. We want to teach the amateur cook how to approach the kitchen in a way that they will fall madly in love with their pots and pans. We, all of us, should let our time in the kitchen be a mindful time. We need to spend our time behind the stove meditatively. Cooking is a basic necessity to life. It's something we have to do to survive, but I want to see us do it as a means to overcoming mere survival. Why not cook for something more than survival? Why not cook to enlighten ourselves and those we love. Sex is necessary for the survival of the species but how many of prefer making love over pro-creating?