With cooking as with writing, I hope others will like it, but if not I'm prepared to enjoy it all by myself. I moved out of my parents home when I was 16 and never developed the fast food habit, so I had to learn to cook. Luckily, by 17, I met my best friend and he was a terrific cook. He also turned me on to Craig Claiborne's New York Time's Cook Book, one of the few you will need. The others are The Tassajara Bread Book, The Greens Cook Book, The Joy of Cooking, and Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking. And then you'll need none of them, because you will have internalized the alchemy that makes for great food. And what is that? Well, it's like sex: You get what you give. It must be sensual and you must be attuned to your partner's, or partners', desires. Flavor, texture, heat, cold. Some dishes are best if made quickly, others need time. My cooking guru always served dinner late -- 10pm or 11:00 -- Lamb Stew with White Wine, Oxtail Stew, Beef Tongue, Onion Soup with Vermouth. You eat, you drink, you drink some more, and more, then let the bed swallow you, transport you into darkness, softness, dreams, the arms of a lover.