Cooking is about presenting flavors and other aspects of food in a way that makes best use of them and makes an engaging, satisfying meal. Taste necessarily comes into it along with technique. Some ingredients require cooking, cleaning or otherwise denaturing them, some are fine as they are.
Cooking is a holistic process of planning, preparing, dining and sharing food. I place food at the center of our humanity, as it nourishes not only our physical bodies but also our emotional and spiritual lives. Food is truly a cultural phenomenon that informs our traditions and our relationship with the earth. I genuinely believe that food connects us all.
In France cooking is a serious art form and a national sport. I think the French enjoy the complication of the art form and the cooking for cooking's sake. You can talk with a concierge or police officer about food in France as a general rule. It is not the general rule here. Classical cuisine, which I hope we are going back to, means certain ways of doing things and certain ways of not doing things. If you know classical French cooking you can do anything. If you don't know the basics, you turn out slop.
What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It's a sure thing! It's a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.
Cooking is not about convenience and it's not about shortcuts. Our hunger for the twenty-minute gourmet meal, for one-pot ease and prewashed, precut ingredients has severed our lifeline to the satisfactions of cooking. Take your time. Take a long time. Move slowly and deliberately and with great attention.
Cooking is work that is traditionally done by working-class people. The work itself is not glamorous. It's repetitive, and it's a lot closer to factory work than art, whatever level you're doing it at. Certainly chefs are used to living like rock 'n' rollers to some extent, inasmuch as we get a lot of those fringe benefits without having to learn how to play guitar.
Cooking is one of my favourite things - from going to the market, bringing the stuff home and preparing it, to cleaning the kitchen afterwards. I've lost my figure a few times. There have been moments when I've overeaten, for comfort. But with discipline and hard work, you can get your figure back.