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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Yes, Chef

There are not many good things about exercising indoors for me. The challenge of keeping up my mental motivation during the boring miles on a treadmill or track continues, despite the moving trails of Olympic National Park or the Swiss Alps on the screen or the counting of laps. The annoyances of other runners' noises, the indoor overheating, and the clanging of weights challenge my focus. The only things I appreciate are the chance to exercise without freezing my extremities (due to Raynaud's Syndrome) and the occasional opportunity to get some reading done.

Yesterday I was engrossed with Yes, Chef, the memoir by Marcus Samuelsson about his path to becoming a world-class chef. His affection for food began as a boy in Sweden, adopted with his older sister after their mother died from tuberculosis. After leaving the Swedish formal school system for cooking school, he became immersed in the world of cooking stations, perfection, organization, and meticulous preparation. 

"If the ingredients are fresh and prepared with love, they are bound to be satisfying," he writes of his early cooking experiences with his mormor (mother's mother) and of smoking fish with his uncle Torsten. As I prepare food each day, I am reminded of that and of how much of myself goes into what I cook and bake, not just the time I spend with the food preparation, but the thoughts I keep in mind of the people who will eat what I make. Scents remind me of people, places, and events, just as the scent of berbere, the Ethiopian spice mixture his mother must have used, brings this woman he hardly knew back to him.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED that book! Cooking is my favorite domestic activity, and the scent of baking bread ALWAYS reminds me of my mother. Nice memories.