Monday, February 21, 2011
Musings of a Home Cook
Nothing like a six week sinus infection that kills your sense of taste and smell to re-examine your relationship with food. That's were I have been this winter. Now the air is clearing, the weather feels milder and I have returned to my blog.
Functioning at about seventy-five percent of my normal gusto has changed my routine. Or should I say slowed it down. Normally, when I get home from work, I have 2 to three hours before my husband gets home when I tackle my daily/weekly task list. Tasks including drawing, art projects, design work, household chores or just answering emails. Then I start dinner. Not feeling 100 percent means I have to pair down on some of what I get done after work. Surprisingly, what I did not change was my cooking routine. We could have ordered pizza. Albeit, take out every night would be an expensive and less-than-healthy option, I am not entirely sure that those reasons were the ones that motivated me to return to the stove every evening.
If asked in conversation what motivates my interest in food and cooking I would respond by referencing the impact our food industry and our personal food choices have on our health and the environment. The agriculture, production and distribution of food affect the living and working conditions of many people around the world. Eating better can mean living better. And if that isn't enough, I LOVE to eat! It is one of the greatest sensory pleasures.
I would heavily emphasize that last point. What I discovered these past weeks was that even with my senses of taste and smell impaired, I was still not willing to forgo my cooking routine. When I felt I could no longer concentrate at my desk, my inclination was to gravitate toward my cutting board. I realized that that is the place were my thoughts are released and my hands and senses take over. Taste and smell excluded, there is comfort in the tactile rhythms. The comfort of being home is slicing through a cool, crisp vegetable and hearing the sound of the sound of the knife tapping on the cutting board.
Although I must say that I am happy to have my other senses back. The other night after having dinner at a wonderful restaurant in Williamsburg called Barberry, I spent some time chatting with part owner and chef, Diego, about the subtleties of salt and the joys of making food from scratch. In that conversation, Diego eloquently expressed what I will paraphrase, "how often we forget a face but the memory of smells and tastes last forever."