Think about what a cookbook holds–all that man has ever cooked or eaten? Entrée into private passions and obsessions, a ticket to places far away and to times long past. They are an invitation to holiday parties and family dinners, into private realms of taste and home.
From the idiosyncrasies of funerals in the American South, the private foods that we eat over the sink when no one else is around, what Shakespeare ate, the food of Baja or Morocco or Eastern Europe, recipes can be more revealing than a novel, or at least contain the seeds of a story. A woman trying to reproduce the pastries of her childhood, a new bride desperately finding her way to a new family, or a slave conjuring up a cuisine out of captivity. They can be more revealing than novels, because they are true. Their truth is why people read cookbooks even if they never cook from them. Because, as if by magic, we are transported.
I like to think I’m an accomplished home cook, and I do have a few blue ribbons to prove it. I’ve also got the ridiculous idea that everything should be turned over, examined, and written about. So in writing–from books to articles to recipes–I aim to figure out food and stories.