We continue to have a lot of difficulty getting our USDA certified butcher to slaughter our animals. The lack of knowing when we will have meat to work with is beginning to rile us. It's a pity that the law does not allow us to slaughter ourselves and still be allowed to sell to the public but it does not. So we continue to be frustrated by the slow trickle of supplies that we have to work with.
Someone has volunteered to come in and work one or two days a week for nothing more than the pleasure of learning and working with his hands. Christian the Apprentice appears to be an exceptionally bright and capable young man with a terrific work ethic and a lot of ability. He has no formal culinary training (that he has admitted to at least), yet he seems to be able to do almost everything I ask him to do. Sure, his knife skills are a little rough, as are a bunch of other basic culinary skills. But what he lacks in skill he more than makes up for in enthusiasm and what appears to me to be a serious nose for cooking. The only troubling thing about him is that he seems to want me to hold it against him that he once sat in the front row of an Emeril the Entertainer show on the Food Network. I remain unsure over how to respond.
Here's my I-Ching reading on the subject
On one burner is a wok with six vegetables that spell out the truth that he once time thought it would be cool to go on Emeril. On an another burner another six vegetables tell me that Christian is serious about cooking. (The dude even jumped on the pot sink and started washing -and more than once!) So I must decide if I should respect him for being serious about the craft or ridicule him for behavior that implies that cooking, like sex and tap dancing, should properly be considered a form of entertainment.
Now what would you do? :-)
Christian the Apprentice appears briefly in the slideshow that follows below.
On a personal note there has been a subtle change in the way I think about food and cooking. Over the years I've thought about my relationship to food and the process of making it comestible (cooking) as having numerous focal points of intense intellectual interest. For example I've given equal weight of importance to how cooking and eating defines us as individuals and members of a cultural group. At one time or another I've been absorbed by studying how food changes as it moves from the field, across the stove and into our gullets and I've even spent countless hours in pursuit of answering questions about food that I know have know definitive answers (e.g. What is food?).
But I do not remember being as interested in cooking as something to do for the sake of doing it. I'm sure I've gone through something like this before, but I don't recall having quite the same sense of understanding that so much pleasure could be gleaned from just cooking. It feels a bit strange, and I'm not quite sure what it means or if it means anything at all.
The only things I can compare it to is how it feels when I swim when I'm swimming well or when I'm out on a stone wall project after hours of cutting and laying rock.
But it's not quite the same thing.
Sigh, another mystery to probe.