Cooking with Hate

Some chefs gush about "cooking with love," but I've discovered the joy of cooking with hate. Don't get me wrong, I always love cooking. And Hallmarkian language aside, love in food is a positive thing. When a cook blathers about "cooking from the heart," it means he put an extra amount of care, attention and investment in his dishes. Cooking with hate isn't the exact opposite – it's not sloppy or unrefined – it just involves different emotions.

I discovered hate cooking when I had to make a provolone sandwich for the school's restaurant. Cooks tend to be passionate about their ingredients, having certain ones we adore and others we can't stand. I don't think Provolone deserves to be classified as cheese (it brings nothing to the table taste or texture-wise!), so I was peeved at having to feature it in a gourmet sandwich. Harnessing anger, I brusquely sliced the house-cured ham and baguette, smeared the roasted onion mayonnaise and slapped the sandwich together. I felt better after manhandling it, and the sandwich looked and tasted none the worse for my actions.

Since the provolone incident, I've hate cooked a few times. It sounds odd, but it's certainly more productive than yelling or storming out of the kitchen. It's a mixture of anger and enjoyment; quicker, rougher and more satisfyingly vengeful than "cooking with love" could ever be. Mad at the chef, customer, waiter? Put a serious sear on that New York strip. Loathe cherries but stuck pitting a whole case? Grab a pitter and start punching those little suckers as quickly as possible. A dish cooked with hate can turn about better than one done with love, because the tendency is to finish the job quickly and get it out the door versus finicky over-fussing.

So next time you're angry or frustrated in the kitchen, don't throw a pan. Hate cook the #$% out of something. You'll feel better, I promise.

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