Monday, January 24, 2011

Cooking manifesto

I received Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my 18th birthday and spent the next several years cooking my way through it. That was my culinary school. It didn't occur to me to write about the process. Imagine my chagrin when Julie/Julia came out! After I quit beating my head against a wall and moaning "Why didn't I think of that!" I realized it was time for me to start writing about food, my love of food - preparing it, eating it, thinking about it, reading about it, talking about it, growing it. The good thing about that book is that it made me realize I have something to say about food! I hope so, anyway! You, dear readers, will have to be the judge of that!

Today I'm thinking about how my relationship to cooking has changed and morphed over the years but it has been a constant in my life - I wish I could have been so thoughtful and flexible in my relationships with people as I have been with food! I'm thinking about the role of recipes and cookbooks in my cooking....I hardly ever follow them anymore - except when I'm doing something that has to be very precise - candy-making, baking, canning, preserving. I love the alchemy of carmelizing sugar or watching a ganache set up or seeing oil and lemon emulsify...

But most of the time I think about how flavors, textures, colors go together. I found a really ripe mango at Trader Joe's the other day and immediately thought of combining it with walnuts and cabbage and a slightly sweet vineagrette for a yummy coleslaw. Did I see that combo in a recipe once? Maybe. I don't know. All I know is that it came to my mind in an instant. It was really good and was a perfect compliment to the Chicken Bouillabaisse I served that night to my pals Bill and Lee. I'll write about that in another post. 

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