So for me, I think this level of obsessiveness has not to do with either anxiety or one-up-manship, but rather is part of my (and apparently more than a few other New Yorkers’) desire to get their hands on the best. And because when I give something to others (here, specifically, dinner or lunch or breakfast or whatever), especially if it’s food, I want them to have the best. More often than not, I want to bring them into the fold, to convert them with one bite of Bayley Hazen Blue or a spoonful of the mint ice cream that I just made. Because tasting is believing. And what, I’m supposed to be persuasive with a parbaked La Brea baguette and Land O’Lakes when I could be blowing minds with Jim Lahey’s transcendental filone spread with Beurre d’Isigny?
I think the single most anxiety-inducing issue I come across in this whole reputation-precedes-me thing is that lately, I’ve had way too many people tell me how much they worry about cooking for me, because I’ll not like, I’ll judge, etc. To which I say: Come on! There are few things you can do for me that are really as amazing, as affecting as feeding me. It’s one of the aspects of the whole food thing that I love the most — that feeding someone is an awesome, awesome gift. This combination of thought and consideration, tradition, patience, and labor is offered up to satisfy at the most visceral level and to, if you’ll pardon a little rhapsodizing (and if you’ve heard all this before), actually become a part of someone. That must be why I love cooks.