Humans are hardwired to learn cooking. The nature, variety and origin of food calls us to find, grow, care for, cook, and eat it - to play with, paint, write, and sing of it.
As with music and language, genetic (nature) and practical (nurture) matters contribute to our capacity for, response to, and practice of our culinary heritage. The ease with which people eat evermore readymade foods - more or less on demand -subverts cooking instincts: using our own hands and abilities while engaged as cooks.
The risk of this ease is devalued connections with food; we risk losing touch with food literacy, our health, and cooking altogether. This loss obscures the evolution and immense complexities of food and cooking in art, tradition, science, and literature. It imposes on us distance from habitats and farms, flora and fauna, and leaves a vast unmet need to touch, taste and see, explore processes, nurture, create, and share. Leaving almost entirely to others what we might do ourselves, we lose worlds of sensation, learning and experience.
In fact, each small choice we make about food is literally a vote for or against the success of what we are preparing, our health and that of our children, habitat destruction in our own areas and the other side of the earth, small family farms, and, ultimately, for or against justice and world peace itself. My Culinary Heritage pages attempt to focus on small choices, encourage readers to make better ones as much as they possibly can, when they can, and to emphasize the surprisingly amazing power of small decisions.
In all of my work, between now at Harvard or my first cooking job - after school thirty eight years ago - food has inspired my profound respect. Any skills acquired have been nurtured by this respect. It frames my work, informs the instruction I provide in class or on the job, is a key element of my other services to individuals and businesses, and moves my hands wether I am peeling onions, modeling knife skills, or creating wedding cakes.
My cooking classes are hands-on and fun; I facilitate interest, curiosity, and creativity. I'm intensely interested in food's history - the story of the olive, grain of wheat, and apple pie; and in it's qualities - the flavors, colors, shapes, textures, chemistry; and in foods' vast interconnections - that a peach may travel so far after months of in the orchard, rains, hanging on the tree by day and by night, and involve so many lives: the grower, picker, trucker, box maker, merchant, insects...; and most of all I am interested in the strong associations food holds for us, as in how certain food means: home.
Please contact me to plan a class or other event, or find out more about my services for your corporate, small business, and individual situations. Remember to "vote"; and let those cook now who have never cooked, and those who have always cooked, cook more.