On Cooking – and Life

Mom awesomeness.jpgAh, it’s the holidays. This is a busy time for us.
There is so much going on. It’s nice to take a moment, to have a moment to sit still. We can get so tired. Spare time is rare in our field. So I’m going to pass on something I have learned. Just this one thing, completely free, as my gift to you. You can take as many classes, put together all the complex meals, and string up all the lights you want. Then snap all of the naturally – lit pics to share as you can stuff into your schedule.
But you know what?
If you really want to cook, I mean really cook, you need to know what real love is. You need to have truly loved someone or been loved to actually reach your peak. I don’t mean prodigy or talent. We can be born with that, and we can practice until our fingers bleed, backs and shoulders ache, and feet walk off by themselves, and we can do wonderful things. I’ve seen that mentality. “No distractions! Just focus on your craft!” See the problem with that is these people think everyone is the same, or should be. We may be nothing whatsoever alike, and yet have so much in common. Some of us can do a myriad things with a full life, and others prefer solitude to excel.
Practice is truly essential, ‘to learn the craft in our hands’.
But if you want to see the heights, to reach the depths, to call up the spirit of a place, the atmosphere and time, that takes passion and experience. I don’t mean just sex. Though real passion can come off as sexy in our endeavors, whether we intend that or not. I mean every movement, rhythm, and heartbeat of what we do has meaning, because we have learned that life has meaning. We have learned that it is worth living, and we are more alive for it. We have loved, or loved and lost and loved again – we have seen or done much – and we bring that process to every effort, but especially our food. I imagine most people do, to whatever it is they do, but in food it matters more.
Heirloom pillows.jpg
Our everything goes onto a plate. All of us: happiness, heartbreak, every day of pains, every elbow we’ve rubbed, each place we have visited; all the hearts we’ve touched, or broken, or won go into our food. It shapes our flavors and inspires our compositions.
So this is how my theory goes: If you want to be good then practice, but if you want to be great, love. Live and love. Let it mold you. Make life happen. Everything we do is connected to someone else. Don’t ever forget that. Holidays come and go. Jobs certainly do, as can people. A plate is merely a canvas.
Love one another all the time, if they let you, but love someone special – deeply. Your art will always be with you, because your heart is.

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