The other day, after a protracted conversation about food, my little brother observed that my purpose in life is to make people hungry. As a food writer, there is something to that, but that's not the whole story.
I do make people hungry. I entice people with photographs of chewy, chocolatey, crispy-around-the-edges cookies studded with dark chocolate chunks, colorful M&Ms, and salty pretzel bits. I describe lush green, arugula pesto in the middle of winter and promise sparkling summer flavors.
There's more to it than just that.
... I also feed them.
All of that talk and those photographs and obsessive thinking about food is because I just plain love feeding folks. To paraphrase my mom, "If you leave my presence hungry, it's your own fault!"
Sometimes it is just as simple as a hot mug of tea with a little honey foisted into the hands of someone swirling in through the door with the snow. Maybe it's a well-timed piece of toast with a pat of melting butter and a swipe of strawberry jam to take the edge off the morning hunger.
There is a lot of joy to be had from food aside from the obvious sharing and consumption of it, though. Preparing food for others is like a prayer for them, but preparing food with others is a recipe for memories.
While getting ready to work on dinner with my eldest son, he asked me what we were going to make. When I replied, "Wonton Soup!" he gave me a wry look and replied, "Isn't that a little irresponsible?"
It took me a full minute to get his joke but when I did, I was torn between ridiculous laughter and sheer pride in his vocabulary. The soup will, of course, be known henceforth as Irresponsible Soup from a Wonton Woman.
Since I do not have the privilege of cooking for each of you individually, how about I deliver on the recipe of those cookies I mentioned?
Many cookie recipes are forgiving when you skip the chilling of the dough, but this one is not. Upon pain of cookie pancakes, do not forget this step! Of course, if you do forget it, it's not the end of the world. There will always be a place for pancake-y cookies crumbled over a bowl of your favorite ice cream. All is seldom lost when it comes to food.