The Most Important Thing I've Learned

The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned

Food is love. That’s it. It’s that simple.
If you read yesterday’s post, you know that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to love my friends and lovers well. There are many people in my life that I haven’t loved adequately this year, but there are a handful of deckhands and a captain or two that I have – because with every meal, I was showing them: this is love.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my “food philosophy”as this was one of the questions on the 25-page application for that chef competition show. I wondered what other people would write – maybe about being organic or local. I wonder what the typical food philosophy boils down to. For me, it is love, and every other answer is just excess. Just one more thing food is or can do.

Be the perfect host.
When I was in college I had a professor who said that in Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf was slapping her character with the gravest of insults when she called Mrs. Dalloway the perfect hostess. That statement has stuck with me for years – I think because I already sensed at that time the power of the perfect hostess.

When these things are right: the food, the company, the setting, magical things happen. Like on Tuesday night. And I wrote a whole paper in graduate school contradicting my professor by asserting that two of Virginia Woolf’s novels actually lead up to this moment when everything is just right – and time itself seems to slow down. These kinds of moments in fact depend on a good orchestrator.

Most nights I didn’t have time to be the perfect hostess and the crew doesn’t have any energy left to give, but even when we didn’t take part in the perfect moment around the table, the goal was always to make them feel loved – to nourish them and hope they leave the table sated and maybe a little happer.