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Monday, August 24, 2009

Why do YOU cook, Hank Shaw?

Hank Shaw
Hank Shaw is not your typical cook or your typical blogger. He hunts, fishes and gardens and is something of an expert when it comes to seafood. He was a 2009 James Beard Award nominee for his blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, but what impresses me the most is his thoughtful approach to food. In addition to his blog and he also runs the site, Fish & Seafood Cooking.

"To me it's almost like asking, "Why do you breathe?" Cooking is not something I consciously began doing; it just is what I do in the course of any normal day, and has been since I was a boy. Cooking is part of what makes me who I am, and it defines me to others -- especially because as a person who hunts, fishes, forages or grows much of what I eat, I am an outlier who represents the boundaries of what an otherwise "normal" person can and cannot do.

When Michael Pollan cited that food researcher in last weekend's New York Times magazine, the researcher scoffed at the notion of killing, plucking, gutting and cooking every chicken we eat, saying, "who does that anymore?" Well, I do. And after that story ran, I got a bunch of emails from people pointing me to that quote. I prove to them that it can be done. Easily, in fact.

Other men take cars apart and put them back together to understand how the pieces fit correctly. I take apart animals and plants in an attempt to understand the same thing. How I rearrange them in the kitchen is my own personal alchemy, something I find endlessly fascinating."