Sabbath, September 19, 2010

Posted September 19, 2010
By Clay Cerny

(On Sundays, Career Calling explores work and life issues in “Sabbath.”)

Roger Ebert – Take Two

A few months ago, I wrote a Sabbath post admiring Roger Ebert’s passion and productivity as a writer.  This week a new aspect of this man’s skill and work was revealed – Roger Ebert is a cook.  That fact is pretty amazing since Ebert, who has had several surgeries for cancer, hasn’t eaten solid food since 2006.  He has also lost his sense of smell, which is an important tool for most cooks.

Despite these limitations, Ebert still loves to cook, and he has written a cookbook entitled The Pot and How to Use It.  Ebert’s favorite kitchen tool is a rice cooker, which he uses to make a range of dishes, including oatmeal, eggs, and chili.  A recent story in the Sun-Times describes Ebert as a conductor in his kitchen, giving instructions, adding ingredients and spices.  When there is doubt about an ingredient or how long something should cook, he simply says that the “pot knows” – Zen and the art of cooking.

Why does Ebert still cook if he know longer eats?  He explains that he loves the social aspects related to cooking and eating.  He can only talk with the aid of a computer, and frequently writes answers and responses.  The article describes how Ebert interacts with his guests and his wife, Chaz, his partner in pot cooking.  He loves being a host as well as a cook. 

Ebert advocates passionately for his style of cooking.  With his professional success and tenure, he could easily take his loved ones and friends to restaurants or have chefs cook in his home.  Instead, Ebert wants to cook for them, which involves the care and art that are the foundation of all good work.  As a writer and a cook, Roger Ebert loves what he is doing.

This story has inspired me to cook more.  I’m even going to buy a rice cooker and learn to use “the pot.”

Sunday Extra Helpings:

A blog post on Ebert & how to use the pot to cook risotto

An article on Ebert and the Pot from the Huffington Post