My early memories of reading aren't of reading, but being read to. I didn't start reading by seeing words on a page, reading for me began with hearing words strung together and shaped into stories. My mother would perform the stories, giving the characters -- the animals from Wind in the Willows or Pooh -- distinctive, quirky, funny voices. She also invented a recurring story she told me every night as I lay in bed, the Adventures of Baby Bear. I had a role in that story: the adventures usually included me. I now have a little boy. He's nearly a year old. And just the other day it dawned on me that among the many endearments I shower him with one of the more frequently invoked is "Baby Bear." To read or be read to is to have a movie projected inside your head, to have your imagination fed. And over time, you develop an appetite, you hunger for it. And maybe you become a cook yourself.