The Idea of Cooking

So, a conversation I had with my dad many years ago involved bicycles. We used to ride bicycles when I was a kid. We didn’t go mountain biking, or some sort of sandstone bicycle adventure, but we both really liked bicycles. My dad started to get into building a custom bicycle for himself. I remember going to the bicycle shop and he’d talk about frames, seats, brakes, all that sort of thing. I vaguely remember one of the times we went to the shop and I could have sworn he spent two hours looking at bicycle seats.

The funny thing is, the more he spent time on his bicycle, I think the less he would actually use his bicycle. It wasn’t because of any specific reason, I think there was a combination of his job, other commitments, and life getting in the way. One day I remember him saying to me “I love the idea of riding a bicycle, but I just don’t ever do it anymore.” It was a hilarious conversation that went into the fact he spent so much time and money on that damn bike.

Cooking is one of my primary hobbies. I love learning about new dishes, or ingredients, or techniques and trying them. One of my first bonuses I bought Modernist Cuisine and a Sous Vide Supreme. It doesn’t matter how many cookbooks I buy, because I’m never satisfied and I keep buying more. But I’ve found lately that I’m saying to myself more and more “I like the idea of cooking, but I never do it anymore.” Like my dad so many years ago, I’ve fallen into the same situation. But it doesn’t stop me from learning more about cooking, or finding ways where I can inject food somehow into everything I do. So its a giant spiral of not cooking and eating instant noodles but seeking out new and interesting things I can read about food. It’s a good way that I can focus on my hobby when I don’t have the time to focus on my hobby.

So here are a few things I’ve picked up today, and a few things on my “to read” pile.

Kyou no Ryouri/Kyou no Ryouri Beginners: It’s not cheap to subscribe to these two magazines. It’s probably about 100 dollars/year for each of these magazines. So now and then I ask myself why I keep the subscription to these magazines, since I’ve pretty much had to give up all of my other subscriptions to cooking magazines. However, every single time I pick up my monthly issues, I’m instantly reminded. The photography, the high quality, yet the accessibility get me every time. No offense to the Food Network, but their magazine feels like Highlights magazine. The way they make things so simple to understand, yet do not sacrifice high quality make me feel giddy every time I read these magazines. These magazines are one of the primary reasons I keep being inspired to study Japanese. Because the more I learn Japanese, the more I’m able to unlock from them. Someday I may even be able to read a whole entire issue without getting a headache!

September:

One of focuses of KnR (the one on the left) was 20 minute meals. Then for KnR Beginners (the one on the right), were focusing on Japanese meals, and then a focus on tofu. See the little old cartoon lady on the bottom? NHK has a KnR Beginners show, that is a five-minute animated program (before Kyou no Ryouri’s main show). The show focuses on the old lady and her life, and then demonstrates how to make the dishes she serves to her family and friends. IN FIVE MINUTES. There are some cooking shows where the cooks take five minutes to peel a clove of garlic.

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October: I just got these two magazines today. I’ll be honest in that I haven’t looked at them at all. But, it looks like KnR there’s a focus on mushrooms, while the focus on the KnR Beginners is on use of frying pans.

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Lucky Peach: While I’ve sacrificed all of my other food magazines (even Saveur, and I love Saveur) for the two magazines above, I cannot sacrifice Lucky Peach. I haven’t had time to run through the latest issue. But if there’s a focus on Korean BBQ, how can it be a loss?

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Does this next one look a little familiar? That’s because it’s a Kyou no Ryouri Beginners cookbook! I picked this up, flipped through the pages, and immediately picked it up. If I were to design a cookbook for people who are learning to cook, this is how I’d create a cookbook. I hope I find time to talk about this one more. Essentially the first half of the cookbook shows photos of how to cut and prepare different vegetables, meat, and fish. Then there are some recipes later one where you take what you’ve learned from the beginning of the book and apply it to making some dishes. Its essentially taking the KnR Beginners animated show, and putting it on print.

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Finally, the latest graphic novel for What did you eat yesterday? was out. This series is so absolutely endearing and well made. It’s about a middle aged gay couple (one guy is a lawyer, one guy is a hair stylist) and their daily lives. The lawyer (guy on the right), his hobby is cooking. What is amazing about this series is that while you see the life through these two men, you learn about cooking too. The author of this series, she loves cooking, and it’s apparent by reading the series. I love the illustrations of the food; it makes me hungry when I read this series. You have to have some serious drawing skills when you can make food look good in a black and white drawing. There’s a million books on how to draw bodies at a bookstore, but how many are there that focus on drawing food? If you’re looking for a good “slice of life” type of story, with some cooking, I highly recommend this series.

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Maybe it’s not so bad in obsessing over the latest publications involving food and cooking. There’s less things I have to buy at the grocery store, which means the less that will inevitably rot in my refrigerator due to getting home late or being lazy. I remember a television show with a TV personality; she was talking about how she would work out with Food Network on. She said she would pretend she was enjoying the dishes being cooked, so it in a way made her full. I’d like to believe I can do the same with these books that I buy. In reality, I end up finding some restaurant to satiate my craving instead. I love the idea of cooking, but I love the reality of finding these amazing materials to comb over in the short amount of free time I have.

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2 thoughts on “The Idea of Cooking

  1. “the Idea of cooking!”
    Yes, it’s more compelling than actually cooking. Reading cookbooks, magazines with recipes, blogs about cooking, watching YouTube food videos are activities (passivities?) I can spend hours enjoying; then it’s time to get dinner on the table for husband and daughter. I spent several years learning to cook home-style Japanese food and blogging about it. Looking back I’m surprised at what delicious things we ate—these days it’s “toss it toward the stove, and what hits the target, cooks.” Not sure what happened…
    ≥^!^≤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think life keeps getting more and more busy! I feel that the amount of time I have to go home and cook becomes shorter and shorter. So most of the time we end up going out to dinner! We’re going to try and cook at least twice a week, but I feel that’s only going to keep going on for a couple weeks until we get back to our old habits 🙂

      Like

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