When Gourmet was shuttered this week, the food blogs were ablaze with the news. Here in The Kitchn, we had a number of comments on our post. One in particular caught my eye. The commentor said that at one time Gourmet was just about cooking but today's Gourmet had become more about eating.
How interesting. Personally, I had never thought to separate the two. I am most definitely a cook AND an eater. But when thinking about it, I realized that I could see where our commentator was coming from. A passion for cooking doesn't always mean a passion for eating and food culture. Some people just want to cook, to follow a well-crafted recipe that will result in something delicious that they can serve to themselves and their family. Everything else is just extra.
Considering it further, I came up with another situation where I could agree. When I think about food shows on TV, I most definitely am not interested in the eating shows--you know, the ones where the hosts travel around to various places and we spend a lot of time watching them put food in their mouths. There's only so many times I can listen to someone chew while try to find a clever new way to say "mmmmm" between swallows. I can tolerate a little of that in a cooking show (just a little) as long as the emphasis is on cooking.
But really, when it comes down to it, I'm just in love with all things food. Food as sustenance, food as metaphor, food as distraction, identity and culture, food as art, food as a gift to give and receive (sometimes simultaneously.) The burrito grabbed on the run from the corner bodega, the lovely lick of pure white goat's milk cheese, the way honey can taste dark and moody and bitter or thin and achingly sweet. Cooking, eating, tasting, producing, creating, discovering, sharing and getting up the next day to do it all over again.
I'm interested in celebration and appreciation and in the vast and complex ways we relate to each other through food. I realize that I'm a little kooky this way and not everyone can relate to my enthusiasm, and that's OK. But if you're going to be passionate about something (and I hope you are!) then food and cooking is an astonishingly vast and satisfying choice.
How about you, dear reader? Are you a cook or an eater or both?
(Image: Dana Velden)