Off the Grid

September 6, 2010

I’m at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. My idea of Paradise: all I do here is write. No responsibilities, no chores, no internet. Really fascinating people. It’s heaven.

But I’m finding that I really, really miss cooking. For some people it’s all about the results – the food you end up with, the conversation around the table, the good feelings that come from a good meal. But for me cooking is so much more: just being in the kitchen gives me serious pleasure. I’m imagining that it’s kind of like those endorphins the athletic are always going on about. I don’t really believe that they enjoy running. Maybe they can’t understand how I enjoy feeding people.

Tonight film maker Laura Poitras, who has done some incredible documentaries about the American presence in the Middle East in the past 9 years, showed her work. To make My Country, My Country, she lived with an Iraqi doctor and his family as he ran for political office. When I told her how brave this seemed to me, she smiled and said, “Well, you know, I started out wanting to be a chef. And the hardest work I’ve ever done was working on the line in a restaurant. Compared to that, Iraq was easy.”

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