Is Cooking Necessary?*

No, it’s not. That’s your immediate answer, isn’t it? After all, you’ve got more important things to do, don’t you? Or do you? You can live your life without cooking. You can go to your nearest grocery store and bypass all the technology and knowledge that took your ancestors centuries to refine. You can buy…

Ladies of the Pen and the Cookpot: Elizabeth David

Foxed, spotted, acid-rich, the paper crackles under the slightest touch of my hands. The book’s an old Penguin paperback, worth only 74 cents on Amazon.com. As I turn the pages of French Country Cooking (1951), I vaguely recall a comment I once read, written by food activist and restaurateur Alice Waters in her book, The…

Forgotten Recipes and Forgotten Cooks

If you think that real cooking needs to be resurrected, you’d be right. You can’t exist on McNuggets alone, as the film Super Size Me proved. But if you think we should all go back to cooking everything just like our foremothers (and sometimes forefathers) did, you’d be a bit misguided. Romantic, yes, and it’s…

The Feat of Feasting

One cannot both feast and become rich. Ashanti Proverb “Feasting,” for all practical purposes, appears to be the antonym of “hunger.” And yet, feasting is rife (ripe?) with teeming contradictions and ritualistic conventions. For some, feasting implies hunger. Ambrose Bierce defined feasting in a rather limiting manner in his irreverent Devil’s Dictionary: FEAST, n. A…