Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#73 I'm Passionless... in the Kitchen

I think I'll write a book; The Passionless Cook.

On October 31st, we had our quasi annual Halloween party, and I decided to serve pumpkin soup as one of the hors d'oeuvres. It's my father-in-law's recipe, and I'll be honest, I've made this soup a number of times, and it never tastes as good as his.

Most people don't know this about me, but I have little confidence in the kitchen. I'll admit, I make some pretty yummy challah french toast, and I'm amazing on the grill with salmon and steak, but besides those two endeavors, I'm a hit-or-miss kind of cook. Anyway, during the party, I did receive a number of compliments on the pumpkin soup, but the most special compliment came from a neighbor down the street. He emailed to say thanks, and mentioned that he enjoyed my pumpkin soup. I was very flattered since I consider him a very talented cook, and a compliment from him was, well, better than nice. A few days later we bumped into each other at a neighborhood store. We chatted, and I mentioned that I aspire to his prowess in the kitchen. He shrugged his shoulders and said something like, I'm not sure that I'm that great, I just really love to cook. I realized then [well, I probably verbalized an old realization]... that I really don't like to cook. If money were no object, I'd hire a personal chef before hiring someone to do the laundry and bathrooms... that's how much I don't enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate to cook, I just don't like to cook.

Perfect example -- I have another neighbor whose dishes and desserts are delish, and needless to say, she also loves to cook. My husband has told me on a number of occasions that their house is "one of his favorite restaurants". One evening, my neighbor served a wonderful chicken dish with a side of Moroccan rice. I ate with an almost spiritual devotion, enjoying the flavors and textures, until I was so stuffed I thought my pants were going to lacerate my belly roll. It's not hard to guess on which side of a meal my passions lie.

A day or two later when I called to thank her for dinner, I also asked for the chicken and rice recipes. I had decided that I would make this meal for an extended family dinner later that month. Let's just say that when I cut into my piece of chicken and started to chew, I knew that my lack of loving to cook was right there in my mouth. I almost gave myself masseter-itis [masseter - def: thick muscle in the cheek that assists in chewing; itis - def: suffix denoting inflammation] trying to break down that little piece of chicken so that I could swallow it. I had to chew... and chew... and chew...

And, as I sat there exercising my masseter muscles, it dawned on me that if you do something without having or feeling a passion for it, then that lack of passion can definitely be "tasted", if not by others, then definitely by you.

Quote of the Day: "Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. Yet, I go marching on." George Bernard Shaw


Michael Rivers said...

Great post! One of my closest friends is a Chef. His passion for what he does is amazing. He cooks when he is not cooking.

There is something about those people who can make a recipe the exact same way as us "mortals" and have it come out 1,000 times better. I don't see how it happens, but it does.

Lori said...

I share your sentiments...exactly!!!!!! I am on the same page. Actually...word for word!!!!!!! And yes, the party was wonderful and the pumpkin soup was delish. I laugh at your thoughts on paper......very genuine!!!!!!!

deniser shardlow said...

your blog reminded me of my grandmother teaching me her recipe for Shortbread.
It's different with every cook and you MUST use your fingers.. the shortbread takes on the taste of the woman baking it...

Anonymous said...

I like to cook, yet there's still plenty of hit and miss.

Jeanie said...

Your description of yourself and your relationship with cooking described me exactly. I can do it, I just don't love to, and these days I cook very seldom. Except, oops, I am going to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year for the first time in many years. I probably need a good pumpkin soup recipe

Alix said...

Bobbie darling! Thank you so very much for popping over to Casa Hice and leaving such a nice comment. And now, I shall return the favor!

Love this post! In fact, I have a feeling you and I would be great friends in real life. Our Halloween costumes even look alike (at Casa Hice, click the "Adventures in Dieting" photo and take a peek).

Looking forward to getting better acquainted. Am following your blog immediately!

Michael Monheit said...

Great post Bobbie!! So true that the food we prepare takes on the spirit and love that was offered in preparing the meal. And so to the prayers we say before eating add to the spiritual value of that food. By preparing meals with with love and by offering them up to a higher power before we eat, we add sparks of light to the food.