Thursday, November 13, 2008

My first recipe is a simple one.

An introduction.

I cannot say when my completely serious and premeditated love of food started. I like to think it's grown over the years, the way they tell us a good marriage grows, or even a good child. It's been nurtured by family and friends, countless ex-boyfriends and total strangers -- the village that's raised me, if you will. It's been tested by my mother's fish, ethics and the five senses. It's been informed, first by magazines and working in restaurants, then by books and working in better restaurants, but mostly by eating and cooking and eating some more.

This is an exploration of that love, and I'm hoping it will prove more unconventional than not. Yes, there will be recipes and plenty of anecdotes, but this passion of mine, this insatiable interest, has become so much bigger than "How I Made What". It is consuming. To quote Ted Hughes on his early obsession with Sylvia Plath: "I was focused, / So locked onto you, so brilliantly, / Everything that was not you was blind-spot."

It's a good time to love food, and I'm not the only person who thinks so. Alice Waters, the Slow Food Movement, and global and social awareness (thank you, Michael Pollan) are praised endlessly for the roles they've played in introducing America to Taste, the Conviction (vs. Taste, the Sensation). I like to think we can give ourselves some credit, as well, because knowing something and acting on that knowledge are very different things. And so I begin.

Here I hope to examine not just what we eat and why we eat it, but how we eat. I want to look at the reasons and the ways in which we come together for a meal -- a basic need, yes, but also an occasion. In my house, we often gather around a gorgeous farmhouse-style table, and now that the election is over, I hope fewer meals will take place with Keith Olbermann and more will happen here, at our daily table, or out, because there is so much good food and so little time.

My first recipe is a simple one. I borrow it from my father. He, of course, would not call it a recipe because the result, he says, is a successful relationship, but I think it works well here, too. The ingredients: luck, persistence and faith. No preparation necessary.