Intimacy in the Kitchen
Think about the people you cook with.
Cooking is an intimate activity; I wouldn't do it with just anyone. You not only need to share similar appetites, but also a common approach to putting it all together. Imagine, for instance, that you, a free-wheeling, inventive chef are making dinner with a foodie chained to his recipe books. (Ok, ok, I know you can tell which side I'm on.) Or perhaps you're a seasonal/local eater and your kitchen companion insists on using hothouse tomatoes in February. Conflict in the kitchen can break up a relationship pretty fast.
I'm lucky to have so many cooking friends. First and foremost is Michael. If you can share a tiny, NYC kitchen w/someone for 20+ years and not kill each other, you're definitely onto something. And he's responsible for the fabulous blowtorch action on our New Year's Eve pumpkin creme brulee (recipe courtesy of Kitchen Gardeners International).
Cooking w/Cayce was a significant part of my recent Japanese expedition. Like me, Cayce likes to experiment, and we pulled off a rich and succulent steamed persimmon pudding on a coin-operated gas burner. We also made basket cheese without a basket. (Yes, I brought rennet with me to Japan. Doesn't everyone?)
Mark and I have cooked together since we were on the road w/Les Miz many moons ago. At the North Carolina Wild Foods Conference we conspired to rescue succulent milkweed spears from drowning in cheese sauce. I love cheese as much as the next person, but there's a time and a place.
Saturday Leda is coming to PA so we can test recipes for her upcoming book. I'm not sure what will be on the menu, but it ought to be a tasty weekend.