what you do in art (to a lesser extent, science) other than basically creating: the overlapping ecosystems of collecting, commenting, translation and popularization, remixes and restages, “building books out of poems” (or even “writing a novel for a few lines of poetry in it”) — blending, at the periphery, into the uninhabited expanses of arfgrass and feelery mumble; fundamentally collaborative, cooking complements art: many mix doing own art with cooking someone elses. ■    Much cooking is private — minds quietly fermenting their precious poetries, only narrowcasting within a familiar circle except for occasional outbursts of public blur — but the term is increasingly associated with a culture of proactive matchmaking between pieces, authors, traditions and their as yet unaware appreciators. Years of secretive effort may go into a cooking project: dreaming, traveling, researching and rehearsing, composing and copyediting, enloving the honed present, perfecting the genuine-if-staged casualness (“youll believe you found it yourself”) — all this for what may never work out: the appreciator may emerge unimpressed, distracted, spoiled; yet “a whole life isnt wasted if you score a major hit.” Cooking communities evolve lores, lineages, education establishments; beginners hold competitions on (however arguable) hit/miss ratings — with bonus points for an apriori unlikely match that proved lasting and transformative. Best art for cooking is not too obscure (“was in plain sight”) but unstriking, seemingly passable, coming from the distance of maximum boringness in time and space — neither bleeding edge nor so old as to be interesting for its age, neither next-door nor exotically foreign; scoring a hit adds to the perceived value of a piece, making it less of a target for other cooks — which helps mitigate vogue waves on authors and works. Cooking is said to have transformed art, and not just by relegitimizing the original-but-forgotten “art for one”: it freed authors from the standard measures of fitness (approachability, catchiness); cooks select by different criteria and can thoroughly poison you with something you would find, on your own, indigestible. ■    Its tempting to pursue customers of influence or peculiarity; some artists hire full-time personal chefs or root volunteer cooking networks where newcomers start at the bottom of the hierarchy; aspiring amateurs feed on famous cooks' scraps, past meals already delivered, cookery made for broadcasting. Most, however, see little merit in cooking for the well-nourished, seek to feed where theres need — where cooking blends with teaching and wizarding; or rely on pure serendipity — e.g., after a hit with an artist, “chain-cook” his new work (perhaps carrying a flavor of the cooks last preparation) for someone at random.  ■    Cooking comes dangerously close to spam, is only redeemable by hard work, dedication, love; privacy is a battleground in aimed cooking — “insidious even when defensible,” potentially life-breaking or life-upshifting, especially controversial when directed at youngs: a waker child of someone knownly (past-life) “big” often becomes a honeypot, a tornado of open childhood infighting — ones noble service is anothers vile predation. Yet cooking of any kind is rarely a controversy when done by a parent — which is what these arguments tend to settle upon: you are justified so long as you care for the living mind youre cooking for, not for scoring a hit.

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