Today I did not keep Shabbat. I know, it is a guilty moment to reflect on that: only yesterday I wrote about the importance of our keeping our rests (as a member of our synagogue put it). Mom and I went to the Art Museum to see the work of Nordfelt, a Swedish-American. I will not comment on the Art extensively, I enjoyed it but my views on painting and sculpture may not be the best.
Regardless, when I got home I napped; read pages 419-440 of the Sefer ha-Aggadah; and fixed supper–potatoes. Yet I also had some blueberries and so right now baking in the oven are blueberry muffins. I will not supply the recipe–I got it out of “Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book.” It is ironic: I am the one in my family who loves to cook. Mom never enjoyed cooking, and neither did her mother or my sister. My Grandma Alderson was a good cook; her chocolate chip cookies were proverbial. I sometimes wish my sister could give me the credit of saying my cookies were “just like Grandma’s” but she never does. No, for her nostalgia’s rosy haze makes even my best food unworthy to be compared to Grandma’s. That said, I admit that my cookies are made as squares in a cakepan. Why? Because they bake more evenly that way, so that they are all done to the same degree.
Yet this is supposed to be about blueberry muffins. I used to love the muffins I ate as a kid, but the irony is they always came from the box. I hope mine are better: I make them from scratch, using ingredients like sour cream as well as the blueberries.
The point of all this is that cooking is an Art, as much as glassblowing or pottery. Perhaps it is not as grand as Painting or Sculpture or Photography. Yet to the really talented cook, food is a medium. The only reason people forget this is because the results of the chef are always soon gone after being produced. Yet to quote my stepdad, “If you take a day’s salary and by your day’s bread, you are fed for a day. But if you buy a song and a dance, they last you a life time.” Fine food is “a song and a dance” for those who imbibe it. Truly talented cooks are like Lemuel speaks of as virtuous wives “being a price above rubies.” True, not all cooks are or need be women. Yet this was once a feminine accomplishment, and women should not reject it because there was a time when they were “locked in the kitchen.” A person can be a good cook and accomplish other things as well.