...and get it right this time! The three star Michelin chef, Guy Savoy once said that the restaurant it the last civilized place in the world, and that great cuisine is festive, joyful, and poetic. I couldn't agree more. Ever since we, humankind I mean, discovered cooking, we have been gathering around food. Before the discovery of cooking it was everyone for themselves, but cooking brought a disassembled people together, giving us a great evolutionary advantage over our competitors. In his fine book, "A History of Cooks and Cooking", Michael Symons argues that it is the cooks among us who have paved the road for us to become a civilized people, and that to be truly human, we needed to learn to cook. He argues that cooks have taught us to share, since that is what a cook essentially is, one who shares. Cooking makes us civilized.
Cooking is what orginally brought us together. The very act of cooking transforms us because cooking unites us. A carrot is just a carrot, but when it's part of a stew, it adds its flavor and becomes more than it could have been separtely. Cooking is what binds us together in an act of communion. And, as the philosopher Andre Comte-Sponville argues, while there are a great number of things a society can do without, no society can do without communion. Come-Sponville defines communion as sharing without dividing. The simple act of offering someone something we have cooked, binds us together in a way nothing else can. In giving what we cook to someone else, we don't lose it, we expand it. What makes cooking so beautiful is that it can take two people from different parts of the world, different languages, different cultures and bring them together. Cooking can bring enemies together. Cooking can reunite old friends. Cooking can do all these things because of what it does, it unites what was originally separate. As the comedian Dennis Leary says, "Great folks, get into the pot. Get into that great big melting pot because we're all making stew."
When I walk d own the isles of a market I don't see seperate items; I see recipes. I don't see semolina flour, eggs, cheese, milk, butter, bread crumbs, onions. No, I see macaroni and cheese. Maybe macaroni and cheese is the answer to world peace. Maybe if we got together and cooked more we would get along better. You can't share something you've cooked with someone else without leaving something of yourself with that person; you just can't. Perhaps it is time to quit looking at each other as separate ingredients in the isle and start seeing each other a part of the human recipe.
This is good for me to write. As a professional cook I can become hardened to thetask that has been set before me, the task of uniting. All of us could use a reminder every once in a while to cook somethingand share what is yours with someone else. That's what cooks have done for hundreds of thousands of years. That's what you can do now.