Monday, July 19, 2010

Why Cooking?

To contrast the theme of my first post, I'd like to go over what I like about cooking and why I chose food as a career (still not sure if it chose me, though).
For one thing, I really like to cook on a personal level... or rather, I like to be able to cook, there are definitely days I don't want to cook. Analysis of cooking ranges from the primal idea of throwing some meat on a fire and provide for yourself and family to the scientific ideas of what actually happens on a chemical level.

I think everyone should know how to cook a a few specific things. Having to rely on others for sustenance is a crutch. Not everyone should have to cook for themselves anymore than everyone should have to build their own houses or fix their own cars, but complete ignorance is just a sad thing.

As far as cooking for others, I find it can be a very intimate gift. People need food, water, and air as basic minimums for survival, so to provide one of those can feel pretty good.

I enjoy working with food in general, both serving people and cooking for them. Serving provides many different things. Everyday you meet new people and never know what to expect either good or bad. The good is, well, good; the bad provides an opportunity to grow, to be a/the better person rather than take it personally. Every interaction is a unique opportunity.

Cooking food professionally is a different story, though. There's a reason kitchens use a brigade system modeled on the military. A kitchen functions as a crew and the conditions are usually hot, wet, and greasy with fire and sharp objects all around. The satisfaction derived from working a shift in the kitchen is also very different. You prepare and get slammed, then you get to clean up after, unless you work as a team everything will fall apart. Not everybody likes each other, and some are better than others, but everyone is necessary and everyone has to deal with it and can form a good bond.

They each have their drawbacks, though. You can't always depend on the money from waiting tables like you can getting paid hourly in the kitchen, but it's less monotonous than working in a kitchen. You also rarely get to see the satisfaction your guests receive from what you've prepared for them when you work in the kitchen.

But I still enjoy it.

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