A Chef Consumes Three Meals
The first meal happens during the preparation process. Even though onions will sting the eyes, and garlic will make the hands smell for hours, the chef begins with an appetizer eaten not with her mouth but with her eyes and hands. The feeling of dough being rolled. The crispiness of carrots being chopped. The whirling colors and sensational textures. In preparation of cooking, a chef eats her first meal.
The second meal is consumed by the ears and the nose. As the onion and garlic hits the pan and starts to cook with a hiss, the aromatics start to fill the room. There were aromas before, too, but these are more pronounced. As if they mean business. The buns in the oven are causing the house to smell like mom’s kitchen. The fresh herbs that have just been cut are leaking out incredible fragrances into the air. And with this, the chef consumes their second meal.
And the third meal? Well, it’s consumed with the chef’s mouth of course. But not in the same way as those for whom she has prepared the meal. Because the chef has the memory of the first two meals, the third meal is a dot on the i, or perhaps a celebration of the process of cooking. Eating what you’ve made, as every artist knows, is one of the most satisfying experiences that one can have.
You don’t need to aspire to be a chef. It’s a choice you can make when you truly use your sense to consume the three meals. Your food may be better than other chefs or much worse… but you will have nourished your mind as much as your body.
And if that isn’t the point of cooking, I don’t know what is.