It isn't always the objects or situations or people themselves that are problematic, it's how we are relating to them. One person's pile of cookbooks could be a symptom of something difficult, while for another it could be an expression of a passionate engagement, a source of inspiration. Of course, I like to think that I fall in to the later category and here's why.
Let's stay with Nigel Slater as an example. I own two of his American releases (Nigel is a British cook): Appetite and The Kitchen Diaries. I occasionally cook from them and even more occasionally pick one up for a casual browse, especially The Kitchen Diaries because it's reads so well.
I am deeply inspired by Nigel Slater, as a cook and as a person. I feel a resonance with his approach to the stove and table, so when I read his cookbooks, I'm reminded to be more myself. He reminds me of what I value, what brings me joy, and he inspires me to express that. Not everything in my life asks that of me which is OK but, like everyone, I do occasionally need to drink from a deeper well.
Reading a Nigel Slater cookbook has a refreshing, relaxing effect on me. I feel encouraged, inspired, and well, hungry. From there it's just a few phone calls and a quick trip to the market and suddenly, an impromptu dinner party is in progress and my heart is a little fuller.
Besides, food and cooking are my passion and all passions should be entered into fully and with abandon. By definition, a passion should be just a little (or maybe even a lot) too much.
There. I think I may have talked myself into yet another cookbook. And I'm leaving you now so I can get over to amamzon.co.uk before you talk me out of it!
Tender: vol 1: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater, available at Amazon.com.uk. Price will vary with currency exchange rates.