I started cooking because I was too poor to do anything else.  I couldn’t afford to meet friends for dinner. Or take up a new hobby.  Or drive outside my 13-mile route to work at a local television station.  Eating, however, was a necessary expense.  So I borrowed cookbooks from the library, rolled up my sleeves, and started boiling water.

I kept cooking because it offered a sensory escape to the days I spent staring at a computer screen.  I could type the most elegant sentence in the world, but it would still be black and white pixels followed by a silent, blinking cursor. When I make a risotto, I can feel the papery skin of the onion.  I can smell the sweating garlic and evaporating wine.  I can hear the low sizzle of the arborio rice toasting in butter.  I can tell, with a glance, if it’s time to add more stock.  When I take the first gooey bite, full of lemon zest and parmesan, I feel the unique satisfaction of creating something tactile.

I love cooking because it is full of strategy, technique, timing, and on-the-fly adjustments.  I love the way it can transport you to another country or to your childhood home.  I love its delicious marriage of left brain-right brain, transforming you into both a casual chemist and a bit of an artist.   Every trip to the market becomes a tiny adventure, knowing you could make 10-thousand meals and never run out of things to cook.


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