Saturday, March 12, 2011
I’ve always loved to cook, and my friends have been feeding my obsession since junior year of college. As soon as we moved out of the dorms and into houses with real working kitchens, we started making dinners for each other. Over the years, there’s been tons of theme meals, forays into all kinds of cuisine, and, of course, plenty of potlucks. Our dinner rotation has added and lost members for various reasons—going abroad, writing a thesis, moving for a job—but we always have room at the table when someone wants to come back. Case in point: last November marked our second Friendsgiving potluck, and my scattered friends drove, flew, and bussed to Boston to participate. It was a gut-busting success, and I’m looking forward to the third annual celebration this November.
Because I love the social aspect and the actual act, to me, cooking is the perfect combination of beauty and utility. (Oh, how I covet the same from my cookware! A Le Creuset set and Kitchenaid mixer are my dream “when-I-grow-up” purchases.) Both process and product can be enjoyed in equal measure. I can think of no more pleasant way to say “I care” than gathering ingredients, turning up some music, making the kitchen smell like heaven, and having my friends come over to enjoy the fruits of my labors.
Now that I think about it, I’m drawn to cooking the same way I’m drawn to books. Both are labors of love, created for the audience and for the self. There’s an instinct, a knack that the masters have in either profession that’s just a little ineffable. A great meal or a great book can change the course of a life, but a good, steady diet of both is essential. Speaking of which, I’ve got a memoir to savor. As they say in Italy, buon appetito!