Our house has a gas fire. Two, in fact. One in the Living Room and one in the Den. They're great on a frosty winter's day here in Houston when the thermometer dips below 65. Quite comforting.
All of our previous houses had real fireplaces that required wood to be burned on a grate. That was great, too. There was something majestic about the ritual of starting the fire, getting the wood organized (sometimes going out into the snow to grab some logs), and the chopping of wood or organizing a delivery of a rick.
One of my best memories of fireplaces was staying at a condo in New Mexico on a skiing holiday. They had a fireplace but no "gas starter." It was just a hearth and a grate for wood. The people who were sharing the condo with us simply gave up trying to start a fire, but not me. Using my trusty Swiss Army knife I trimmed off enough wood to serve as a starter and managed to get a little flame going with a single match.
Yes, a single match. Any more would have been an insult!
The wood was dry enough that my little fire caught the larger log on fire in short order and soon the room was ablaze. No, I didn't get any thanks, nice of you to ask, but I have the satisfaction to this day of having used my camping skills to bring warmth to our little freezing group.
These days I'm quite happy to press a button and have a flame erupt around our fake logs.
Kink doesn't care, either. He just curls up beside me with his back to the fire and purrs.