Monday, September 17, 2007

Column 22; cooking

For me cooking is neither spiritual nor therapy. It is enjoyable, and I fancy myself a decent chef. Beyond that the praises of fine food, or food as art, are just so much fluff.

I used to think cooking was an art, though. I remember the day when I realized that it wasn't, reading Plato. I forget which dialogue it was in, but Plato's usual mouth-piece, Socrates, argues that the arts are those endeavors undertaken for the betterment of humanity. However the best cooks are often creating dishes that are not for our betterment, but in fact detract from our health and well-being. (Sure the pumpkin, panceta and goat cheese raviolis in white truffle oil were delicious, and the dessert of devil's food cake was to die for, but the calories may actually prove that sentiment correct.)

There goes my future as a career chef. I'd been told that a future studying at the CIA wouldn't be impractical. (That's the Culinary Institute of America, not the super-shifty sect of Government. Although it would be amusing to see chefs in dark glasses and suits using machetes to fillet counter-operatives. I would start such a school, and call the graduates my Minions of Terror. But more on them below.)

It was not a leap to say that I was the house chef for my family since the age of 14 or so. I do so love to cook, and had a great time creating and trying out concoctions this last semester when I had to cook for myself. But when it comes to careers mine has to be one that is beneficial to humanity.

Perhaps I could join the healthy chef bandwagon. I'm not sure what instrument I'd play, but I can sing, and that should count. A ground-breaking study has shown that organic may not be healthier. That is, it may not be healthier for you, personally. Without a doubt it is still better for the environment to eat your food unaltered, free of herbicides and pesticides. The day people start to think otherwise I'll be standing on a soap box in Central Park quoting Rachel Carson and handing out free copies of 'Silent Spring' in airports.

On the other hand, there's been much speculation as to my future careers. I figure this is not unusual for most children. My parents were realists, and so I didn't think I'd been an astronaut or brain surgeon. The three main contestants were: Chef, Writer, Priest.

Serious doubts have caused me to abandon the first one. I'm not really sure I've given up on the middle one. As for the third, well, I gave up on that a while ago. But one never knows. Perhaps I shall become a born-again christian rival of Wolfgang Puck and will write a great novel. Not likely, but you never know. Some people find their calling late, Howling Wolf was in his 40's when he began recording, and John Cleese was going to become a barrister.

For the record, my ambition was to become ruler of the Earth.

I looked about and said, 'Hey, this is no good. I better fix it.' As the case may be two people have sworn oaths that if they hear wind of my rise to power they will stop at nothing short of sacrificing their lives to prevent me from coming to power. But the Mayorship of San Francisco would be pretty cool. Maybe Governor of California? From there it's only a hop, skip, and jump to the Presidency of the United States. After that: UN. After that: Abolish the UN and set up my own world government. After that: Unleash my Minions of Terror and rule the world. I could have a world-wide despotic reign accomplished by the time I'm 60, if I hurry.

Alas, I did not prepare for such things. While I was sitting around thinking up delightful ways to harmonize Gorgonzola and peanut butter others have made the same pact I did, to save the world on their own. And I applaud them all. Except Josh B. I vow to stop Josh B. from ruling the world. Just as he did for me.

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