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How Jaques Pepin Saved My Life

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The greatest thing about this profile of Jacques Pépin is that it seems EXACTLY like what you'd imagine a lunch with Jacques Pépin to be like on the lowest day of your adult life.

This does sound like misery:

Of all the fallout, physical, psychological, and emotional, that my spasmodic lurch out of the house and into the world had engendered, one effect was most worrisome: I had lost my appetite. Believe me when I tell you that this never happens—not when I’m sick, not when I’m sad, not when I’m busy. I do not understand when people “forget to eat.” As a friend likes to remind me, I once ate a meal of rognons à la moutarde, kidneys in mustard sauce, spent all night on the bathroom floor, shivering, sweating, and expelling, and then woke up proclaiming the dish “excellent” and wanting more. I do not forget to eat.

Now, though, my stomach was wound so tight that there seemed to be no room for food. Whatever I put in my mouth felt like dry newspaper; I was unable to swallow.

Just by way of topping things off, I was broke. Which is why, though I felt incapable of forming a coherent thought, much less writing one, I accepted an assignment from a sympathetic friend at this magazine. It was a short sidebar, to be included in a package about home cooking: Ask Jacques Pépin, one of the world’s first celebrity chefs, for his tips on designing a home kitchen. 400 words. Even in my profoundly stunted state, it was the kind of thing I couldn’t screw up too completely.

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