Thanks Mark for a lovely article. I began cooking at age six as an act of self-defense (my mother was a Scot…) and as a result had pretty much every disaster imaginable. From which I learned a great deal about flavor combinations, food chemistry, and the like. In consequence I often create new recipes merely by thinking about the flavors and textures of various ingredients prepared in various ways and 99% of the time my imagination is a near-perfect guide to what actually happens when I do try something new. Free from the fear of failure (as I failed so very many times in my childhood and early adolescence) I really enjoy cooking. It’s peaceful, delightful, deeply pleasing. And I’m happy to say that my younger brother survived all my early disasters without even once needing to be transferred to Intensive Care.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.