Thoughts On Cooking 2

Cooking became a major part of my life when I came to live in Europe. As a cook, you can exert a profound influence over the people you cook for, over the quality of their lives. This was certainly the case when I cooked for the group of people I lived with in Zurich for eight years. What follows are some of the notes I took during that time.

I’ve been able to free myself from the dualism of hedonism versus health. How? By distinguishing satisfaction as a third and ultimate area of concern. The goal: a mixture of satisfaction and aliveness; deep inner peace leavened with a bubbling delight. A kind of heavenly peace is within you after you have eaten a truly satisfying meal. (By „truly satisfying“ I mean a culinary creation that can get to places in a person which most other food cannot reach.)

The joy of cooking? Too much work and worry involved in the practice itself for me to make such a claim. All the joy in the world, however, in pleasing others with the gift of my cuisine.

The need to be fed is an imperial one. Given the extreme care, the loving attention mixed with anxious concern with which I go about doing it, one would think that it is royalty I am cooking for. Exactly.

They eat prodigiously, with an avid joy. The better my cooking has become, the greater the portions I’ve had to prepare. They eat and eat, but they don’t put on weight, as I am always worrying they will. Could it be because they are so very happy with what they are eating? All I know is that you can’t get enough of what you don’t really need or want — another punitive diet, more raunchy junk food.

I cook and cook, investing myself in it completely, giving myself to it whole‐​heartedly. Not only when the spirit moves me, but more or less on a daily basis, come rain or shine. My constancy plus quality as a cook, I realize, are the key to real and lasting peace and satisfaction.

Introverts like myself should be doing the cooking, extroverts eating what they cook. Not the other way around. That way there might be some depth to the food that’s cooked. What’s required: Less flash, more depth.

I operate by stealth, not aggression; I command with the most sensuous and subliminal of forces.

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