You have no earthly reason to be embarrassed about geeking out at Seattle Cooks! Gourmet Food and Kitchen Show, since we have become a nation of geek-cooks.

While outwardly scorning the Sub-Zero fridge and the Wolf commercial-grade stove, you secretly desire them. And for the best of reasons, of course! Not because they're so damn sexy, but because gas heat allows you the precision to move between searing and simmering at the speed of light, which is something you need if you're making, for example, delicious pot roast, richly caramelized and then cooked until fork-tender.

Trade shows, of any format, speak to and for the obsessed, and it's hard not to get caught up in them. (Except for a bridal show I went to a few years ago--research for a book project, mind you--that made me want to run screaming into the street.) You resist for a while, but after you've tooled your way down an aisle and a half, you give in.

You want it all--organic produce delivered weekly to your house by Pioneer Organics, ostrich steaks from Seattle's Finest Exotic Meats, spice mixes and hot sauces from Ukuva iAfrica. You definitely want the African spices, one of the only startlingly new constellations of flavors at last year's Seattle Cooks!, where nostalgia reigned for foods gone by: puttanesca sauce like your Italian grandma made it, fish cooked on a plank (like the Native Americans made it?), clam chowder like you had once in Boston.

Maybe you don't want the Silk chocolate soymilk, handed out in large sample cartons. Maybe, like me, you find it somehow both thin and gritty. But let me tell you--you will eat a lot. It will be in little bites--a medication cup of pasta shells with that puttanesca sauce; a quarter-sized piece of bread topped with lean beef, onion jam, and crumbled gorgonzola (last year's most popular recipe, courtesy of the Washington State Beef Commission; if you're like some of us, you went back for thirds); a million different snack foods.

And then maybe you'll go back, past the kitchen design companies, past the Sub-Zeros, past the exotic meats, to the booth run by Cook's World, a small but excellent cookware shop behind the University Village, and buy an excellent Japanese knife. You'll do this because, amazingly, after eating yourself to death all day, you want to go home and cook. You really do.

Seattle Cooks!

Fri-Sun Nov 8-10, Washington State Convention

& Trade Center, $12, for more info.