Wednesday, August 12, 2009


By Robin Kaye

In my next book, Breakfast in Bed, Rich Ronaldi really can’t cook. He’s never been allowed in his mother’s kitchen. He doesn’t know what a pyrex pan is. He’s never been taught how to do dishes. He never set a table. The man is spoiled, sure, but he was also deprived an education in life 101. His mother thinks nothing of it. Rich is the prince, after all. If food isn’t microwavable, Rich is afraid to touch it. When he realizes the only way to be an equal partner in a relationship is to be able to put something more on the table than microwaved coffee, he finds a Domestic God Coach to teach him to cook and clean. I had such fun writing about Rich’s adventures in the kitchen and every other room in the apartment. And believe me, they were adventures!

When I was coming up with the story for Breakfast in Bed, I thought long and hard about people who say they can’t cook. I’ve always been amazed by seemingly intelligent people who say they can’t cook. I mean, really, how hard is it? You open a cookbook, read a recipe, and follow the directions. We’re not talking rocket science. I always thought that those who say they can’t cook simply won’t cook. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t do yard work. I don’t say I can’t do yard work because if need be, I could start the mower and cut the grass. I just choose not to—vehemently. I understand those people who are passable cooks, they can get by, they haven’t poisoned anyone…lately, but they don’t like to do it. It’s like me and lawn work, I’ll be a terrible landscaper. I have no desire to do it or passion for it. I enjoy a beautiful garden, but not enough to be cutting, clipping, mulching, and pulling weeds myself. No way!

I think people fall into one of two categories. There are those who eat to live and those who live to eat. Those who eat to live usually don’t make great cooks. They lack the passion it takes to put your heart and soul into a dish. They usually look at food as fuel, they’ll go as far as saying there’s good fuel and bad fuel, but they’ll eat pretty much whatever is put in front of them. If forced to fend for themselves, they’ll throw together something that covers the bases and call it good. Then there are the people like me—those who live to eat. The worst part of being a foodie, other than the fact that we’re usually a little plump, is that we tend to be picky about what we eat. We have cravings and if those cravings aren’t satisfied, well, life can get pretty ugly. We’re not the type to open the refrigerator, look inside, and be satisfied eating whatever leftovers lurk within. No, if we feel like eating the leftovers, that’s fine, but if not, frankly, we’d rather starve.

Foodies remember vacations by fabulous meals and restaurants. We mark holidays by what we make for dinner. When we think of menus, we not only consider what dish’s taste will complement the others, but how it will look on the plate. I always make a fresh pork roast with a Grand Marnier cherry sauce for New Year’s Day dinner. It looks beautiful on the plate along with curried rice (a deep, rich, yellow color) and French cut green beans with almond slivers or roasted asparagus. Foodies even dream about food. I’ll never forget the morning I awoke after having dreamt of a wonderful breakfast—odd but wonderful. It was a bed of sweet potato hash browns with onion and curry served with a scoop of black beans cooked with cumin and a hint of cayenne, and topped with a fried egg. It sounds strange, but I’d eaten it in my dream and it was divine! I got up, cooked it and now it’s one of the family’s favorite breakfasts.

Foodies are also pretty persnickety when it comes to dining out. I can’t stand going out to dinner and eating food I know I can cook better. When I dine, I want a feast for the palate, the eye, and the ear. I want soft music, good conversation, beautiful presentation, fabulous taste, and spectacular service.

So where do you fall in the spectrum? Do you eat to live or do you live to eat or some place in between?

16 comments:

  1. Okay, now you've made me hungry!

    I used to love to cook, but now? I'm going to fall in the eat to live. I don't have any time to spend in the kitchen; I'd rather be writing--as I would when it comes to yardwork, housework, laundry... you get the idea.

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  2. I love to cook. I love to eat. Hell, I even love going to the grocery. I think that makes me a live to eat person. Wish I wasn't sometimes because it is often inconvenient to be the only one in a group who is hungry all the time. Guess that's why we foodies tend to stick together!

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  3. I love to cook; learned when I was nine from necessity as mom worked shift work and someone had to cook for dad, a 52 year old man who had been a chef in the army.

    But cooking at home was girl's/women's work.

    I'm grateful, really, because I'm completely comfortable in the kitchen, though I'm no master chef.

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  4. I'm definitely an eat to live girl. I hate cooking, and I'm terrible at it. I once made a date baked potatoes that came out as hard a rocks.

    I do say I can't cook, but what I mean is that I can't do it with any skill.

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  5. Eat to live. Hate to cook. Hate the grocery store with a passion. Some days I wish I could just skip the whole eating portion of the day. Hate to think about what to make for dinner, hate making it, often don't feel like eating it. Just another thing I gotta do every day!

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  6. I think I'm somewhere inbetween--I love cooking and really love baking, but I'm more than happy to go out to dinner or have dinner made for me!

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  7. I could be happy never cooking another meal, Robin. I'm probably the only woman who doesn't have a cook book in her house. Can't imagine anything more boring than opening and cook book. When my children were at home I cooked very simply meals and usually most of them same easy way. Put it in a pan with a can of cream soup over it and take it out of the oven an hour later! Presto! Dinner!
    Amelia

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  8. Hi everyone~


    Judi, I know what you mean. My cooking has been on the decline since getting published, though I still love to eat good food.

    Cheryl~ Yes we foodies do stick together. We should have a foodies anonymous group here at the blog. Think of all the great recipes we could exchange!

    Donna - I learned when I was 15 and living on my own I ate Stoffers for about a month and then tried to remember how my grandmother did everything.

    Hi Gail! Thanks for dropping by! The fact you hate to cook probably explains your svelte figure! You looked fab in your dress at the GH/Rita Awards!

    Marie~

    I have to admit to feeling like that sometimes. Life is crazy and I'm so tired of thinking about what to eat for dinner at 10 AM. Who knows what I'll be hungry for by 6?

    Danielle~

    You're a girl after my own heart, I would prefer to dine out than to cook too. But I still love to cook when I'm in the mood.

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  9. I hate to cook. Love to bake though. And given the choice, I go out.

    Linda

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  10. Thanks Robin, I think I just put on 10 pounds!

    I am a love to eat kind of gal. But I am trying real hard to moderate that! LOL. I can "make do" if there isn't what I am craving. I would rather not starve! And part of my problem is that I have lost the passion to cook over the years. Rather sad, but gone are the Bon Apetit and Gourmet days.

    But great food is a highlight. Like you said, I remember meals vividly, even if I can't always remember who I was with or when it exactly was! I think that is probably wrong in some way, but danged if I care!

    I think I'll hire a cook. After I hire a housekeeper. :)

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  11. Amelia~

    LOL I can't believe you don't have a cookbook, even my husband had a cookbook before I married him, it was awful, but he had one. I page through mine when I have a writers block. It takes my mind off writing entirely and then the answer comes to me. The 25th anniversary of the Silver Palate Cookbook is one of my favorites. The photos are fab and I gladly replaced my 25 year-old copy. It was falling apart anyway.

    Linda~

    I love to bake too. I have a great recipe for hamburger/hotdog rolls. It take me about 30 minutes total to make the dough in the bread machine, shape the rolls, and bake them. They are so amazing, they make a night of burgers and fries a real occasion.

    Sharon~

    I'd love to have a housekeeper and wouldn't mind having a chef too. If I did, I'd probably stick to my diets. You know the ones you're supposed to eat 5 times a day. I don't have time to cook and eat that much! It would be great if he was cute and also a personal trainer...

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  12. Robin, Robin, Robin... making bread or anything else healthy isn't baking -- making cakes, brownies, pies or cookies is baking! ;-)

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  13. Definite foodie here. When I go out, I want something I couldn't/wouldn't cook myself. Duck confit, paella, file gumbo come to mind. Recipes calling for special equipment or spices it isn't reasonable to keep on hand.

    Like you, I don't like to be served something I can make better. I do a baked artichoke dip for instance that will bring tears to your eyes.

    I'm not the cook I used to be though. Like a lot of things it takes constant practice to stay on top of your game. I'm easier to satisfy than I used to be.

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  14. Is it time for lunch yet?!?!

    Actually, I don't mind the cooking but I HATE the clean-up. :-P And I'm with Danielle, I'd much prefer to have someone else do it for me, and SERVE me. Though I will serve myself if necessary! ;-)

    I'm only a serious foodie when I go on a cruise. OMGosh! Talk about wonderful food! And the service is usually excellent. I gotta say, cruise food and service has spoiled me for most local restaurants.

    AC

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  15. You're making me hungry, but I'm definitely an in-between. When we eat out, I don't need to clean up. What could be better than that?

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  16. I like to eat out when we're celebrating something, but otherwise I love to cook at home. :)

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