There are as many ways to approach the stove as there are ways to kneel and kiss the ground, to paraphrase Rumi. Some of us are optimists and when we cook we engage in hope and a desire to nourish, finding pleasure in feeding and being fed, providing ourselves and our loved ones with the strength to carry on, all which are optimistic notions. Some of us are perhaps a little more pessimistic, although I would argue that cooking well is basically a optimistic endeavor—but is this true? Pessimists, please plead your case in the comments!
But sometimes, often, we cook out of duty. We have a family to feed, or some sort of entertaining debt to pay off, or even our own bellies to fill. Sometimes the day-in, day-out obligation to get something on the table is nothing more than that: an obligation, especially when purse strings are tight and there's no escaping it through a stop at a restaurant or take out. It can feel like drudgery, or at least very hard work, and have I used the word 'relentless' yet? We only stop eating when we're dead, or nearly dead. So there's really no end to it. More