The Parable of the Fig Tree

“There’s no art in what we do,” Gregory complained one day, as he was stirring the flour and the butter that would thicken into roux.

A fist crashed into his ear and knocked him across half the room. “No art?” husked Master Chef Caldwell.

Gregory’s ears were ringing. He shook his head to clear them and stood up stubbornly. “Well, no,” he insisted. “It’s all cups and tablespoons and drams, all jiggers and pinches and gallons. It’s all so scientific now.”

“You’re as blind now as when I first took you on. Have you learned nothing in the last twelve years? Nothing beyond how to slice and measure, pour and weigh? These skills I could teach to a child… to a monkey! What have you learned of cooking?”

Gregory touched his hot and swelling ear lightly with flour-whitened fingers while he thought. “I’ve learned two hundred recipes for soup, three hundred for roasts, sixty ways to make a mayonnaise…”

Master Chef threw his hat at him. “Take your things and go. There is no place for you here. I have taught nothing and you have learned nothing. We are both a failure. Go!”