Monday, April 03, 2006

Philosophy of Cooking
I was watching the Food Network's new show in which they try to find their next big superstar. It's the first time I've seen it all the way through, and it was OK but not real exciting. I must admit that my opinion might be colored by the fact that I really don't like Bobby Flay, but that's a subject for another blog.
I was intrigued by the task the budding stars were given--to create a dish from pantry items that reflects their food philosophy, or something like that. It made me stop and think about mine. If I were to write about food--my ultimate goal (especially if I could find a way to link it to the civil rights movement)--what would I be trying to say. When I first began to think about it, it seemed hard. But then, like the flash of a lightbulb over my head, it came to me. My philosophy is smell. Well, to be more exact, the memories induced by smell.
When I recall events, the first things that come to my mind are the smells associated with it. And that's true not just for events featuring food, it's the smell of pine at Christmas time, the smell of burning leaves in the fall, the smell of chalk dust as I helped a teacher clean erasers (when teachers still used chalk). To me, and to many others I might suspect, smells go hand in hand with memories.
So, I guess my philosophy surrounds the smells of comfort foods. Comfort foods by definition make people feel better. The smells of comfort food should be an integral part of the experience. And that's what I try to achieve in my cooking--creating recipes with smells that will evoke a sense of comfort, of safety, of contentment.

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