1.  Nearly every Saturday, we go to the farmers market 2 blocks from our house, see what’s fresh.  Then we buy complimenting meats, cheese and pasta at the butcher and deli on our street, and spend the day cooking and eating new and delicious things.  All week, every week, I look forward to Saturday because it means I have no (legal) work to do and can spend the entire day cooking.

2. One of my favorite celebrity chefs, Tom Collichio (chef, restaurateur and judge on my fav cooking show, Top Chef) says that the mark of a true cook is someone who wakes up, goes to market, and cooks a delicious meal with the day’s fresh and seasonal ingredients.

3. I’m obsessed with watching reality cooking TV shows and fantasizing about what I would cook for each challenge. Half the time, I’m pretty sure I could have come up with a more inventive idea, or at least executed it better under the stress of timed cooking 🙂

4. Having dinner party guests ohhh and ahhh over my menu feels 100 times better than having a client or senior lawyer thank me for pulling an all-nighter to push out a document on schedule (not that the latter has ever actually happened… but the former totally has…)

5. At lunchtime, in the office kitchen, I routinely take 10-15 minutes to cook and assemble my meals, using the toaster oven to creatively roast.  I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that uses the cutting board and knives, and I keep a smattering of condiments in the fridge and cupboard.  When I march my lunch back to my desk, the ladies invariably comment on how beautiful it looks or smells (They call good food “beautiful” here). Best 15 minutes of the workday if you ask me.

6. I don’t like cooking the same thing twice (except on weekdays, when I get lazy).  I’m all about learning new techniques, improving on a favorite or testing new flavor combinations.

7. I would rather spend 8 hours buying, prepping, cooking, baking, plating, and serving dinner for 2 than spend 8 hours, well, really, doing anything else.

8. I can make a one-handed lasagna.

 9. Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve been slammed at work and covering for someone who’s out on vacation, I’ve spent the last 2 weeks vigorously planning the “arrival” menu for Steve’s parents’ first weekend in Melbourne.

10. After a 5-star lunch at the Rochford winery in Yarra Valley (think $75 for 2 courses) on Sunday, my father-in-law declared my Sunday night dinner creation — pork chop, served with potato mash, topped with apples, sage and onion and drizzled with a punchy apple cider vinegar sauce — to be the best meal he’d had all day.  “Even better than lunch”, he clarified.

Ahh the joys of non-paid pursuits.