Food is the perfect lover. It excites, enchants. It beckons with a promise of sweet and salty things to come. Yet, it must be coaxed from its raw beauty. Time, a gentle caress, attention and devotion are needed. Not a simple thing, to bring this love alive.
I’m not always organized, I usually don’t “mise en place” (cute little bowls all in a row), I don’t wait for a perfectly quiet day when I have tons of time to dedicate to my culinary art. I just dig in, mess it up, chef it up, and shovel it in. In fact, my dinner prep is a bit like the birthing process. Long, arduous, painful, and often not very pretty. While bringing my wondrous creation into the world, I sweat, I scream, and sometimes, for no apparent reason, I swear at my husband.
By the time I’m preparing the last dish, I try not to panic. But I do, I just do. I completely forget my breathing exercises. My hair is now plastered to my forehead. My apron hangs dismally around my knees. People are hungry; they’re congregating, circling me. They’re demanding answers. What, when, why so long?
And yet, it’s spectacular fun and quite adventurous. Sometimes we don’t eat until 11p.m., but we’ve had a heck of a good time getting there. Plus, the food tastes divine when everyone’s that famished.
When at last I proudly raise heaping platters - my babies, my creations - to the dining table, the crowd is reenergized, I am reenergized. Sweet aromas waft into our over-stimulated nostrils. We joke, we eat, we love food and one another. I am reminded again of why I chose the life of the disheveled chef.