1. I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.
2. The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.
3. He’d noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: it fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipes and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination – but at the end of the day they’d settle quite happily for egg and chips. If it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato.
4. An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.
5. The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
6. There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.
7. Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans … are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.
8. No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.
9. Alaska decided to go help Dolores with dinner. She said that it was sexist to leave the cooking to the women, but better to have good sexist food than crappy boy-prepared food.
10. Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.
11. If you are careful,’ Garp wrote, ‘if you use good ingredients, and you don’t take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day; what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.
12. Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.
13. Until I discovered cooking, I was never really interested in anything.
14. Anyone who thinks they’re too grown up or too sophisticated to eat caramel corn, is not invited to my house for dinner
15. I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.
16. I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and say to myself “well, that’s not going to happen
17. Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes
18. It can be exhausting eating a meal cooked by a man. With a woman, it’s, Ho hum, pass the beans. A guy, you have to act like he just built the Taj Mahal.
19. There ain’t a body, be it mouse or man, that ain’t made better by a little soup.
20. Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way.
21. I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.
22. I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make. When one’s hostess starts in with self-deprecations such as “Oh, I don’t know how to cook…,” or “Poor little me…,” or “This may taste awful…,” it is so dreadful to have to reassure her that everything is delicious and fine, whether it is or not. Besides, such admissions only draw attention to one’s shortcomings (or self-perceived shortcomings), and make the other person think, “Yes, you’re right, this really is an awful meal!” Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed — eh bien, tant pis! Usually one’s cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile — and learn from her mistakes.
23. [The kitchen] was also messy–delightfully so, thought Jane–and it didn’t look as though lots of cooking went on there. There was a laptop computer on the counter with duck stickers on it, the spice cabinet was full of Ben’s toy trucks, and Jane couldn’t spot a cookbook anywhere. This is the kitchen of a Thinker, she decided, and promised herself that she’d never bother with cooking, either.
24. Tita knew through her own flesh how fire transforms the elements, how a lump of corn flour is changed into a tortilla, how a soul that hasn’t been warmed by the fire of love is lifeless, like a useless ball of corn flour.
25. Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation– experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way
26. Because cooks love the social aspect of food, cooking for one is intrinsically interesting. A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of liking what you make are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one else will know. In the end, the experimentation, the impulsiveness, and the invention that such conditions allow for will probably make you a better cook.
27. Every so often I would look at my women friends who were happily married and didn’t cook, and I would always find myself wondering how they did it. Would anyone love me if I couldn’t cook? I always thought cooking was part of the package: Step right up, it’s Rachel Samstat, she’s bright, she’s funny and she can cook!
28. Invest in what’s real. Clean as you go. Drink while you cook. Make it fun. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It will be what it will be.
29. There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.
30. All worries are less with wine.
31. Taking solitude in stride was a sign of strength and of a willingness to take care of myself. This meant – among other things – working productively, remembering to leave the house, and eating well. I thought about food all the time. I had a subscription to Gourmet and Food & Wine. Cooking for others had often been my way of offering care. So why, when I was alone, did I find myself trying to subsist on cereal and water? I’d need to learn to cook for one.
32. In fact, people who posses not magic at all can instill their home-cooked meals with love and security and health, transforming ingredients and bringing disparate people together as family and friends. There’s a reason that when opening one’s home to guests, the first thing you do is offer food and drink. Cooking is a kind of everyday magic.
33. Standing back and staring blankly at the glass, he realized he had no idea what it meant to preheat. Obviously he heated it prior to something, but to what?
34. I cook to inspire my husband to pay attention to me.
35. There is a difference between dining and eating. Dining is an art. When you eat to get most out of your meal, to please the palate, just as well as to satiate the appetite, that,my friend, is dining.
36. Cooking is not about convenience and it’s not about shortcuts. Our hunger for the twenty-minute gourmet meal, for one-pot ease and prewashed, precut ingredients has severed our lifeline to the satisfactions of cooking. Take your time. Take a long time. Move slowly and deliberately and with great attention.
37. if god had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.
38. The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you’re afraid of it.
39. I always wondered why the makers leave housekeeping and cooking out of their tales. Isn’t it what all the great wars and battles are fought for — so that at day’s end a family may eat together in a peaceful house? The tale tells how the Lords of Manva hunted & gathered roots & cooked their suppers while they were camped in exile in the foothills of Sul, but it doesn’t say what their wives & children were living on in their city left ruined & desolate by the enemy. They were finding food too, somehow, cleaning house & honoring the gods, the way we did in the siege & under the tyranny of the Alds. When the heroes came back from the mountain, they were welcomed with a feast. I’d like to know what the food was and how the women managed it.
40. Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ. After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it. Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours. A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition. Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.
41. Would it really be so bad if you slowed your life down even a teensy bit? If you took charge of the ingredients of your food instead of letting corporations stuff you and your family, like baby birds, full of sugar, corn products, chemicals, and meat from really, really unhappy animals?
42. Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink,” he said. “Though I guess that presupposes that there is a wine I wouldn’t drink.
43. When I was still quite young I had a complete presentiment of life. It was like the nauseating smell of cooking escaping from a ventilator: you don’t have to have eaten it to know that it would make you throw up.
44. Zip it kiddo. Don’t ever admit you know a thing about cooking or it’ll be used against you later in life.
45. If I had thought the beef marrow might be a hell of a lot of work for not much difference, I needn’t have worried. The taste of the marrow is rich, meaty, intense in a nearly-too-much way. In my increasingly depraved state, I could think of nothing at first but that it tasted like really good sex. But there was something more than that, even. What it really tastes like is life, well lived. Of course the cow I got marrow from had a fairly crappy life – lots of crowds and overmedication and bland food that might or might not have been a relative. But deep in his or her bones, there was a capacity for feral joy. I could taste it.
46. To begin cooking duck at one in the morning is one of the finest acts of madness that can be undertaken by a human being who is not mad.
47. Her cuisine is limited but she has as good an idea of breakfast as a Scotchwoman.
48. Without the Project I was nothing but a secretary on a road to nowhere, drifting toward frosted hair and menthol addiction.
49. You have come nearer to mastering a good many aspects of cooking than anyone except a handful of great chefs, and some day it will pay off. I know it will. You will just have to go on working, and teaching, and getting around, and spreading the gospel until it does. (Avis DeVoto to Julia Child)
50. Wandering across the vast room, I stopped at a set of shelves as high as the ceiling, and holding about six hundred volumes – all classics on the history of Soalris, starting with the nine volumes of Giese’s monumental and already relatively obsolescent monograph. Display for its own sake was improbable in these surroundings. The collection was a respective tribute to the memory of the pioneers. I took down the massive volumes of Giese and sat leafing through them. Rheya had also located som reading matter. Looking over her shoulder, I saw that she had picked one of the many books brought out by the first expedition, the Interplanetary Cookery Book, which could have been the personal property of Giese himself. She was pouring over the recipes adapted to the arduous conditions of interstellar flight. I said nothing, and returned to the book resting on my knees. Solaris – Ten Years of Exploration had appeared as volumes 4-12 of the Solariana collection whose most recent additions were numbered in the thousands.
51. This explains why I’ve been making Recession Tea- letting a teabag steep for half the time it should so I can use it again for a second cup later.
52. For a moment, or a second, the pinched expressions of the cynical, world-weary, throat-cutting, miserable bastards we’ve all had to become disappears, when we’re confronted with something as simple as a plate of food.
53. The repetitive phases of cooking leave plenty of mental space for reflection, and as I chopped and minced and sliced I thought about the rhythms of cooking, one of which involves destroying the order of the things we bring from nature into our kitchens, only to then create from them a new order. We butcher, grind, chop, grate, mince, and liquefy raw ingredients, breaking down formerly living things so that we might recombine them in new, more cultivated forms. When you think about it, this is the same rhythm, once removed, that governs all eating in nature, which invariably entails the destruction of certain living things, by chewing and then digestion, in order to sustain other living things. In The Hungry Soul Leon Kass calls this the great paradox of eating: ‘that to preserve their life and form living things necessarily destroy life and form.’ If there is any shame in that destruction, only we humans seem to feel it, and then only on occasion. But cooking doesn’t only distance us from our destructiveness, turning the pile of blood and guts into a savory salami, it also symbolically redeems it, ing good our karmic debts: Look what good, what beauty, can come of this! Putting a great dish on the table is our way of celebrating the wonders of form we humans can create from this matter–this quantity of sacrificed life–just before the body takes its first destructive bite.
54. If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.
55. I want them to bite into a cookie, and think of me, and smile. Food is love. Food has a power. I knew it in my mind, but now I know it in my heart.
56. TV cookery is very like internet porn – the overwhelming majority of its audience will never ever get to act out what’s happening on screen.
57. Good kitchens are not about size; they are about ergonomics and light.
58. Mother doesn’t cook, Ignatius said dogmatically, She burns.
59. I turned from my window. Suddenly it seemed odd for my neighbors on both sides to have visitors while I had none. For the first time, I felt lonely at ‘Sconset.
“Let’s cook,” Frannie said energetically. “We will smell so good that they’ll all come running.” She picked up a bowl, filled it with apples from the barrel, and immediately began to cut them up. I put water to boil, got out cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lard, flour, sugar, salt, saleratus, vinegar, and all the other things for apple pies. We both laughed happily. How easy it is, we thought, to make a decision, to implement a remedy, to act.
60. If God had created celery, it would only have two stalks, because that’s the most that almost any recipe ever calls for.