It is my firm understanding that while The Partially Examined Life tilts decisively toward philosophy generally understood -- contemplations of being and nature and self and ethics and thought and morality and consciousness -- the disposition we have of engaging texts for ourselves and talking about them thoughtfully and seriously (if occasionally irreverently) extrapolates well to a disposition regarding many endeavors, be they motorcycle maintenance or cooking. These are activities of the senses and the mind, of manipulation matching art with know-how captured in the greek word techne. Thinking about them and doing them reveals to us the world and ourselves.
To that end, I point you to a very new blog written by a dear friend of mine called The Food of My People. By study and training he is a specialist in metaphysics (with much work on Thomas Aquinas). He's a master teacher of language (particularly Greek and Latin, though I would happily sit in his French class) and a wonderful conversationalist. His blog captures some of my fondest memories of our friendship -- sitting in his kitchen with a well-chosen glass of Italian wine while he cooked dinner and talked about the food, the preparation, and his life growing up in Brooklyn (and learning to cook). I've been privileged to have him teach me how to make frittata and Sunday Gravy. I point all of you cooks to a good read that will keep philosophy on your mind while directing you straight to the kitchen. Consider one small excerpt:
Salt is all important. In the old Catholic rite of baptism, it signified wisdom. Don’t be a fool and skimp on salt. The thing you need not only to understand but also to believe, if you are ever to be a good cook, is that salt has the wondrous power of making things more themselves. Other spices add flavor; salt brings it out. The self-same salt, used in due measure, makes broccoli taste more like broccoli, and steak like steak, and potatoes like potatoes. Salt is ready to do self-effacing service to one and all – its very humility merits its exaltation. Its hidden action is not so much causal as causative, i.e., it does not do something, but causes something else to do something, namely, to taste delicious. If something tastes salty, it means you have added too much salt (unless you meant it to, as with nuts and pretzels), but if something does not taste like itself, it likely needs the eductive agency of salt.
Shame on Plato for letting you think that cooking is mere cookery.