You’re either handy or you’re not. You’re the kind of person who hires someone to install a lock on your bedroom door, or you’re the kind who bribes someone to come over for you (with shitty offers of pizza and cheap wine). And someone always shows up to help.
When I was single, living in a one bedroom apartment in New York, I only ever hired someone once. I paid the building handyman $50 to assemble a heavy, and complicated, bookshelf. I never could have tackled this myself, and even if I could, personally, I’d derive zero pleasure or sense of satisfaction. It’s not the way I tick.
As for all the other things I needed done, I bribed with food. Please, I’d whimper, please install my new air conditioner. And then more promises of food with a simple, "can’t you just come hook up the TiVo, the dvd player, the speaker system, the television, and the CD carousel? Oh, and run the speaker wire under the rug?" But really, it wasn’t cooking. It was assembly.
The only thing I really assemble are salads. "Thanks for cooking. You’re such a good cook." Well, technically, I hadn’t cooked. Not even a poached pear. I assembled. But I suppose it has to count, assembling, deciding really what to include. I won’t say "building blocks" or "flavor profiles" because these seemingly innocuous phrases make me kinda twitch. It takes all the love out of the game. It’s sounds too complicated. Assembly required. Way more daunting then continuing to throw shit in a pot until it tastes good.
They say a good chef can make excellent scrambled eggs. A good composer can orchestrate an incredible salad. Simple ingredients used in a unique way, or an unusual pairing of these ingredients, always impress. What are your favorite salad ingredients? I love thinking of new salad "profiles." Because it’s easy to do, usually requires very little cleaning and time, and they can be all the more impressive when they’re shoved into a circular mold beforehand. This is the reason I happen to adore the book titled, STACKS. So damn good. You know, if you’re into the art of assembly. Think Gotham Bar & Grill, the art of vertical food.