Thursday, September 03, 2009

Why do YOU cook, Eric Gower?

Eric Gower
Eric Gower's food excites me. His approach to cooking is creative and fresh. Like me, he loves to play with ingredients and find new and different ways to use them. Having lived in Japan, he often combines Western style techniques with Asian ingredients but also uses what's local. His passion for sharing techniques and great ingredients is infectious. He is the author of one of the most innovative cookbooks I own, The Breakaway Cook and he blogs at The Breakaway Cook. Tune in to the Mehta vs. Morimoto episode of Iron Chef America to see Eric as a judge.

I probably eat out, on average, one meal a week. That means I'm cooking roughly 20 times per week, since I cook three meals a day most days. Why do I cook so much?

Cooking for me is this ongoing practice of tweaks. Over the years I've tweaked my food to suit my own palate without a lot of regard for much, except what tastes great *to me.* Cooking, I think, is pure grit: if you do something three times a day, and keep at it, you're bound to get better at it.

If you try to cook competitively like the chefs on tv, you're bound to give up. Unless you have an army of 20-year-olds at your disposal to do all the work it requires, you'll never do it like they do (we'll leave aside for a moment the question of why you'd even want to). It's much better to cook simply, for yourself. Get good at feeding yourself first, and you'll naturally get good at feeding others. Sort of like the flight attendant's instructions to put the oxygen mask on first, before attending your children!

But WHY do I cook? There's a special satisfaction in creating great meals, day after day. Cooking is like coming home, to a place that is safe. When you cook often, you have the power to create a kind of home for yourself, a state of being. It's a place in which you can trust yourself. It's the opposite of a waste of time; it's the ultimate way to spend time."