26 April, 2009

Culinary Intimations

The fruits of a conversation with Spencer tonight.

I've been experiencing a wierd disconnect between being as old (still quite young, obviously) as I am, and wanting to feel younger by doing the same things or acting the same way as I did throughout most of college. Spence said something that set me off thinking: "insofar as I have a hobby, it would be cooking."

It's a big mark of our twenty-something generation--experimenting with different culinary styles and being more or less dedicated to eating well as a lifestyle choice. I think it's great, because as a lifestyle choice, cooking for one's self is creative, healthy, conversive, and very much a community builder.

Like the 8-year Cabot cheddar I've been enjoying lately, I feel that maturity set in without my even noticing it. A big part of that is the intentionality that goes into food these days. When I say "eating well," I think of eating healthy, as well as interesting and flavorful cuisine. Maintaining that choice as an individual or couple requires a lot of planning and care. If I don't think about what I'm eating for dinner a day in advance, I end up scrounging odds and ends out of the refrigerator all night like a pre-pubescent boy. It struck me the other day that Lupe and I have "standbys" that we generally have the fixings for on hand. Light cream cheese spread on grape tomato halves wrapped in a spinach leaf is particular favorite recently.

Shopping for food is regular and important event because it represents a more or less intentional plan for the next two weeks or so--compared to what I used to do, making smaller stops at the grocery almost every day or two. It's a decision about what life will look like, what's important to the individual, and a chance to develop tastes.

Similarly, entertaining friends has noticably become more centered around preparing dinner for a group--and I'll take this opportunity to apologize for my Pad Thai and promise to learn what went wrong and fix it--and bringing people together. That practice is downright ancient, really, and I think it speaks a lot about what, as social beings, is and has been important to mankind for a very long time. I feel like I've reached a point where gathering people together and sharing my table with them is one of favorite things to do. I look forward to it all the time, and I relish discussions with friends about new dishes to try. Example: tortillitas. Deliscious, easy, alterable, and I have the stuff on hand now. Love it. Kudos to Elliot.

So, just some musings since we've had a dry spell.

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