Despite her hang-up (or maybe because of it), I actually like food. And I like to cook. I started to appreciate cooking in college thanks to a professor who was famous for his dinner parties. He was one of those borderline-inappropriate teachers, full of menace, intelligence, and sexuality. At one of his soirees I'd asked how he learned his craft and he said by reading cookbooks. Then he hit on me. That's it! I was inspired—not to be gay, but to cook. The idea that I could do something giving and seemingly selfless and still be the center of attention seemed magical. So, I started cooking for people (or, as a girlfriend recently accused me of doing, cooking at people). That's why I make such a big deal about Thanksgiving, flying in, from New York or Los Angeles or wherever I'm living at the time, to cook the holiday dinner at my mother and my extended family.