Anyone who's spent a little time with me quickly learns that having good food around is, for better or worse, an almost pathological obsession of mine. I feel better when I eat well (the converse is true too), and daily life is pretty structured around it.
I've been a restaurant critic, private chef, cooking teacher, and cookbook author. Big swaths of my life.
But lately I've been questioning what really drives all this hunger.
In preparing and reaching for all those beautiful meals for solace and satiation, it's possible that I'm trying to access something else. Maybe it's access to emotional and psychological nourishment that I'm really after, I don't know.
Maybe it's friendship I'm after -- being able to be mutually heard, captivated, and forgiven . To be reassured by those close to me (and, of course, to do that very reassuring) that the thunderbolts being tossed our way are all temporary and reasonably easy to overcome. Being vulnerable often brings a kind of catharsis that food, no matter how good, can never bring.
A few short centuries ago, most people ate whatever they could to stay alive; I'm sure that a lot of it wasn't so pleasant or enticing. Today, we have the opposite problem: so much human ingenuity has been channeled toward creating food that's enticing and easily stored. Not for everyone on the planet, unfortunately, yet; but we're getting closer.
Now that we have entirely too much good food, it feels like what we really long to consume are things like understanding, kindness, stillness, forgiveness, closeness, and maybe even reconciliation with those we once loved.
I have a feeling that I'll still be preparing nourishing meals no matter what, but, maybe, alongside all that cooking practice, I can simultaneously practice being a better friend.
Bon appetit to all of that!