A couple of weeks ago while listing, on an actual piece of paper so I could face them, some fears as they relate to my prowess as a cook and a knowledgeable expediter in the kitchen, I scrawled "That I am an amateur." It was just one in a long list of fears, but it is one of the primary and powerful.
I'm reading a book called The Supper of the Lamb and I am giving you fair warning here and now that, until I finish this fine piece of writing (and perhaps even long after), there may be a glut of it spat out on this here blog. You may get sick and tired of Robert Farrar Capon (dad calls him Crouton). If you do, don't tell me about it. I may disown you, so fierce is my allegiance. Already.
So last night, I read the following. When you read it, you'll understand how it fell on me coolly and soothed, how it bolstered and buffeted my second-guessing spirit. It's the kind of reading that makes me exhale loudly and shake my head in a slow-motion fashion. Yes. It's that good.
In introducing himself to his audience, after wiping his hands, he writes...First, I am an amateur. If that strikes you as disappointing, consider how much in error you are, and how the error is entirely of your own devising. At its root lies an objection to cookbooks written by non-professionals (an objection, by the way, which I consider perfectly valid, and congratulate you upon). It does not, however, apply here. Amateur and nonprofessional are not synonyms. The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers -- amateurs -- it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral -- it is the fertilizing principle of unloveliness.
AAHHHHHH!!!!! My brain almost fell out of my head and onto my empty dinner plate (parts of it dribbling into my glass of red. Gross.). So perfectly put. Yes, I should have known I'd be undone by Capon when I read the book's dedication...