Kottke highlights the following passage from Matt Zoller Seitz's "Feast":
Cooking, perhaps more than any activity, lets an actor exude absolute physical and intellectual mastery without seeming domineering or smug. Why is that? It's probably because, while cooking is a creative talent that has a certain egotistical component (what good cook isn't proud of his or her skills?), there's something inherently humbling about preparing food for other people. It doesn't matter whether you're a workaday gangster footsoldier giving lessons on how to cook for 20 guys, like Richard Castellano's Clemenza in The Godfather, or a hyper-articulate, super-fussy kitchen philosopher like Tony Shalhoub in Big Night, ("To eat good food is to be close to God..."), when you're cooking, it's ultimately not about you; it's about the people at the table. Their approval and pleasure is the end game.
Read the rest of the essay and watch more sumptuous scenes here.