A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my parents’ house on a Wednesday evening. My Mom was in the thick of Shabbat prep — she’d just finished up a plate of nockedli (Hungarian dumplings) and was moving on to kosher paella.
30 people were invited and my job was help with the seating arrangements.
Why was that my role?
Because I hate to cook. There’s not much to it — it’s just an activity that’s never interested me. What does interest me, however, is being fed and hosted.
If you love to eat, is it hypocritical to hate cooking? I’ve struggled with some guilt about that over the years and helping with other tasks has been my way of trying to compensate.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though: I’m doing nothing compared to her. Over the years, my Mom has spent an unfathomable amount of time nourishing her family and entertaining friends. All I’ve done is help with chairs and flowers.
When we decided to start on this project, I thought I’d have to hide my dislike for cooking. But then I figured there were other people in the same boat — people who hated cooking, but admired cooks in their lives, and cherished moments and memories those cooks had facilitated. So I decided to try and incorporate that perspective into the book.
By writing this book, I just may convert to the cooking religion, too. The payoff, of course, will be the ability to create moments and memories for others the way my Mom has for us. So the odds are good.