Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A fork in the road

As all of you know, cooking if my one passion; my one obsession. But recently I have began to question the place of cooking in my life. What I mean is where does it fit? What's the purpose of cooking in my life. In a way this blog has been the vehicle with which I explore cooking's place in my life, so it shouldn't come as any surprise to me when I begin questioning why I cook. But this recent episode of questioning reaches down deeper inside. I don't know if I am looking for direction or connection. My gut feeling is I'm trying to see where I am connected in my endeavor. Paul Tillich, an existential theologian, and the one theologian that speaks most to me, spoke often of man's "Ultimate Concern" when referring to god. Faith, according to Tillich is the state of being ultimately concerned. Now, because Tillich's idea of ultimate concern is not the easiest concept to understand, in fact some wonder if even Tillich understood it completely, I'm not going to get into it. If you are interested here is a link to a very good discussion. But I bring up "ultimate concern" because Tillich argued that ones ultimate concern cannot be something finite, hence, my cooking no matter how passionate I am with it cannot stand in the place of my ultimate concern. If cooking cannot bring me fulfillment then what does it do? This is the question now before me. Cooking by itself will not bring fulfillment. It can't, it's grounded in finite existence, but cooking can be that which leads me to that which concerns me ultimately; at least I hope. Aristotle taught that by living a virtuous life we can find happiness and part of living a virtuous life is living a life where the social good of man is the highest aim we can aim for, this is where a proper use of the political life springs. To put it another way, when we put social concerns above our individual desires we are living rightly and will find ourselves more fulfilled and hence happier. My cooking needs to take that next step where I no longer cook for sake to cook, but I cook for a greater end; an end that takes aim at man's ultimate concern. Is the greater good of man our goal? For now I don't know, but I am going to start off in that direction and see where it leads me if for no other reason than it will be a good journey. I do know owning a restaurant for the sake of owning one or for making money is no reason to own one. There must be a higher aim for us. We are coming up to the first anniversary of the restaurant and we have reached the goal we set for ourselves, just survive the first year. Now that we have done that I want to look ahead with loftier ideals for the restaurant and market. What are they? Have not a clue, but give me time and these ideals will present themselves; a path for us will be made clear. What I do know is I am enjoying the adventure.


Anonymous Jill B. said...

Just a thought: if you look at your first 11 "33 happy moments" there is a common thread. You seemed to enjoy bringing others pleasure through your cooking. Producing an edible work of art is great. Perhaps the "greater good" is seeing someone else enjoy it. Just a thought...

3/08/2009 9:27 PM  

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