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June 19, 2007 / Tony

Thoughts on a very good quote

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
Harriet van Horne

I ran across this quote today and I thought it was quite striking.  For it cuts to the heart of what I think truly separates cooks from those that just eat: Cooks pour their entirety into their creations becuase it is their favorite, or perhaps their only, way of expressing those things that they know are greater than themselves.  And those things are not just celebrity chefs or the great chefs of times past but they also encompass the concepts of perfection, good, and human endeavor.  What a cook wants to do every time he or she makes a dish is touch the ethereal and hence, become a part of it.  Thus, cooking for the real cook is art; it is worship; it is the pursuit of all they hold dear in their hearts.

All food, then, that does not at least attempt to puruse these lofty goals are held in the most extreme disdain by the cook.  Such food is a cheat and a mockery of what that cook toils to produce.  It is an insult to the craft in which he or she has so fully invested themselves.  Show shoddy workmanship passed off as adequate to a master of any other craft-a poorly written book, a rickety table, a weed infested garden-and I think you will find similar sentiments.  Those masters will think why produce that which is so clearly inferior and pretend, advertise, or declare that it is not.  A cook has the same thoughts.  Why produce inferior food and have it pervade our lives until it has crowded out almost all else that is good?  Why attempt to create food if you do not do it with you love and total abandon?  Instead, a cook thinks there is only one way to cook and that is to push yourself to be ever better at what you create; in essence, to love cooking enough to always put your whole self into it.  Only then is cook at peace. 

One Comment

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  1. jaz83 / Oct 29 2009 3:38 pm

    This is all encompassing of what I feel as a cook! Though I am not trained or know all of the technical terminology, I still have a passion and desire to create food that fulfill the soul as well as the stomach. I believe that there is something so cathartic about cooking, and few things gives me joy as when I’m in the kitchen! Thank you for this!

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