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A Time to Feast — With Amateurs

First, I am an amateur. If that strikes you as disappointing, consider how much in error you are, and how the error is entirely of your own devising. At its root lies an objection to cookbooks written by non-professionals (an objection, by the way, which I consider perfectly valid, and congratulate you upon). It does not, however, apply here. Amateur and nonprofessional are not synonyms. The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers–amateurs–it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral–it is the fertilizing principle of unloveliness.

Ah, neutrality. This sounds like something Richard Weaver might have written in mediating the spirit of Plato. But Capon likes the awkwardness. I’m not sure that Weaver or Plato would relish the “clownish graces,” as awkward as those dudes were.

But yes, Capon‘s right. Neutrality is boring and unlovely. Being an amateur and doing something just because you love to is clownish but beautiful.

I made V’s day gifts for the ‘rents this week. I overdid it. It took too long. It was too extravagant. It was full of love and sentiment and memory-making. But . . . still too-too.

I love like an amateur. Like Mike pronking out of his crate ready for the day. Like a forgiven prostitute who crashes the church social. Like Elaine Bennis dancing.

Is that a problem?

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