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Cooking with Maya Angelou
Dr. Angelou has written a cookbook called Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart, and the Washington Post has asked her about it. Intrigued? Well, here you go:
What do meals mean to you?
In a wonderful way, mealtime is almost the most intimate time that people have together. Of course, when one is making love with someone one loves, with a beloved, that’s the most intimate. But the next most intimate time is when a person has gone shopping for the freshest produce, the finest-looking chicken or beef or fish, and came home to prepare it in the best possible way, and then presented it beautifully and sat down to eat it with a beloved — that is extremely intimate . . .
Is cooking like writing poetry?
Yes, cooking is like writing poetry, but it’s also like building a house. You want the best ingredients. When you’re writing a poem, you hope to have a good vocabulary, and to choose the nouns and pronouns and verbs carefully. The way you put them together will determine how they affect another person. And it’s really because you’ve been careful in the choice of your ingredients and respectful of how they work together. That’s true of all the efforts in life.
Is there a meal that’s particularly poetic?
Oh, I don’t know — it depends on who’s eating or who’s preparing it and what time of day it is. But I’ll say this: Somebody made the rule that you have eggs for breakfast, a sandwich at lunch and a steak at dinner. That’s ridiculous. If you get up in the morning and want a bowl of chili, I think that’s what you should have. That can be romantic.