1. a compelling need or desire for food.
2. a strong or compelling desire or craving.
-verb (used without object)
1. to have a strong desire
[Origin: before 900; Old English – hungor]
Synonyms: appetite, lust, itch
Perhaps since I received a light bulb-powered EasyBake Oven as a child (certainly, at least, for as long as I can remember), cooking has been a meaningful, if not significant, part of my life. Sure…I now recognize most of the tastiest things in life can’t be cooked in a four-inch round pan under 60 watts of Edison power, but back then, who was going to stop me from trying? In retrospect, I’ll reluctantly admit it may have been best to stick to the prepackaged box cake and brownie mixes that came with the oven…(my apologies to family members who had to taste test choke back any of my “I-just-found-this-in-the-pantry” concoctions)!
However, whether casually or formally, personally or professionally, the desire to explore my five senses through food, wine, flavors and the business of restaurants definitely endures some 25+ years later; the tremendous satisfaction I receive by helping to not only nourish myself, but others, through food I’ve cooked is second to none. And, even when that satisfaction is experienced vicariously through front-of-house diners I never meet or talk to while toiling away in hot, hectic restaurant kitchens, it’s worth it. Simply knowing they enjoyed their meal by seeing a cleaned plate or gnawed-on chop bone come back to the dish tank is more than enough.
Regardless of class, society or background and across cultures that span the globe, food is used to comfort, nourish, celebrate and commemorate special occasions and people’s lives – even during the most difficult times of personal grieving and wakes. Potluck, promotion, or proposal; Birthday, bar mitzvah, or barn raising; The occasion may change, but food always plays a prominent role. You may not remember what you were wearing, what the weather was, or, perhaps, the specific date – but I bet you can tell me, in mouth-watering detail, about the best meal you ever ate. Probably the top few, even…
Let’s dig a little deeper…What about the best steak ever served to you? Favorite family casserole? How about your go-to comfort food, or even a killer dish you prepared? It doesn’t really matter if I know your specific answers, only that I know food, especially good food, punctuates all of our lives. It certainly has mine…I also recognize taste in food is uniquely personal and the act of eating food is extremely intimate – it’s something we ingest into our bodies…To be a welcome, memorable part of that experience for friends, family or even strangers is a high honor, indeed.
As a career-changing former magazine editor-turned NYC line cook, dailyhunger.com exists as an apropos, creative outlet to explore and document a strong or compelling desire to better know and share my own passion for food, wine, flavors and the business of restaurants. Cooking is something I think about and do on a daily basis and, since graduating with distinction from The French Culinary Institute in 2009, now have the ability to claim is my profession – no longer just a passionate, lifelong hobby.
From classic flavor combinations to new food finds, to interesting ingredients and the recipes they inspire – if it crosses my plate here in NYC, it will be a candidate for consumption at dailyhunger.com.
Hungry for more? This will be your glimpse into my world of food…
Jeff Feighner - Editor, dailyhunger.com