The beautiful circle of cooking
Next to my wife and my art, cooking stands as one of my greatest sources of joy and frustration. There's something of a microcosm in the act of planning, prepping, cooking, and serving that never ceases to provide a distinct extremity of emotion. It's a project in every sense of the word--there's a concept, a working prototype (that becomes the product, nonetheless), a deadline, an audience, and a delivery. This circle is opened hours--or days--before, is traveled upon dutifully, mindfully, and frantically, and is closed at the table with your closest friends (usually), who just so happen to be your greatest critics (usually). And hopefully, eating as a closing act to cooking is a pleasant experience. If not, there's nothing to deprecate the act of traveling the arc, desperately fighting the forces that would pull you off course...
Though I cook nearly every day, it's only a few times a month when I find myself embarking on a project that really feels special. Sometimes it's delivered; most of the time it's simply served at home. On these occasions, my audience has the fortune to stand alongside the arc, and the lowly "project" becomes "performance". I'll spare the details; essentially, my wife and I had a good friend over for dinner. We tag-teamed the menu, then I shopped, prepped, and cooked. One of the delicacies we served was a conglomerate of necessity (eat-me-now tomatoes), prior knowledge, and new recipes. Thus:
Basically, this treat is a fried tomato, topped with homemade pimento cheese and a balsamic sauce. DE-lish. Recipe here.
If life is a straight line, it's really nice to have a neat, closed circle every once in a while.