A Personal Note

Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About
When I was young I was known as the family’s “problem eater.” What no one seemed to notice was how well I ate when we went out to restaurants. I would devour huge bowls of steamed clams and a large lobster with no difficulty. I had favorite dishes at the local Chinese restaurants and soon started to travel on the subway to investigate restaurants that served food from France, Italy, India, and the Middle East. All cuisines interested me.
I didn’t approach a stove until I was in graduate school at Yale, studying painting with Josef Albers. There I discovered that cooking, my new “hobby,” was much like painting, my “career.” You combined textures, colors, and “tastes,” and the whole, when it worked, was more than the sum of its parts. The palette and the palate were related. And if artists communicated with the public via exhibitions, cooks could communicate in a more direct manner. Cooking brought people together; it was art and it was social. As a shy person, it allowed me to be with people in a relaxed way, because the atmosphere was under my control. I could work and play at the same time.