While continuously whisking my first-ever bechemel sauce over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes this weekend, I realized that I'm often at my happiest in the kitchen. This is, of course, because I'm not required to do it -- it's a hobby, not a vocation, so I'm free to enjoy and experiment and generally do what I please just because I want to. Many, many people talk about their jobs in terms of this sort of happiness -- that the discovery of true joy comes when finding the job that allows you to feel happy and free because the work is such an integral part of you that it can't bring anything but happiness and contentment.
I'm not one of those people. I love my job -- what's not to love about being the editor of a gay magazine and getting to write about interesting people, manage a growing publication, review cars, read voluminous amounts, and so forth -- but it's hard. I get a certain satisfaction out of writing that I can't get anywhere else, a feeling of deep satiation that I really only know when I've written something I know to be good. That's content. Cooking is happy.