Maurice Sendak's book In The Night Kitchen was one of my earliest cooking inspirations.
In my mother and grandmother's kitchens, flour and milk could be made into a hundred wonderful things, and there was always something new to try. The book confirmed it — baking was magic.
The night kitchen Maurice Sendak drew stuck with me. It was another world — mysterious, a little dangerous, and filled with strange characters — which is exactly how I found the kitchen when I first started cooking professionally.
"I'm not the milk, and the milk's not me," shouted Mickey before he built his dough airplane and flew into the sky to fetch milk for the cake.
Maurice Sendak sparked the idea that creation and adventure lies within every raw ingredient and every blank page. Every day I sit down to write or open my cabinets looking for something to play with, I find again how true that it.
To quote another of his books, "Let the wild rumpus start!"
Maurice Sendak, Author of Splendid Nightmares, Dies at 83. (New York Times)