Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Food Talk and Barbecue Sauce
"While cooking demands your entire attention, it also rewards you with endlessly sensual pleasures. The sound of water skittering across leaves of lettuce. The thump of the knife against watermelon, and the cool summer scent the fruit releases as it falls open to reveal its deep red heart. The seductive softness of chocolate beginning to melt from solid to liquid. The tug of sauce against the spoon when it thickens in the pan, and the lovely lightness of Parmesan drifting from the grater in gossamer flakes. Time slows down in the kitchen, offering up an entire universe of small satisfactions."
I love the way Ruth Reichl describes her love affair with cooking in this excerpt from her book Garlic and Sapphires. It's exactly how I feel but was unable to put into words. Maybe this helps explain why I love to cook in a quiet kitchen and most often by myself. I don't want an audience. I don't want distractions. I only want to concentrate on what I'm doing. It's like entering a peaceful place where you can lose yourself in the beauty of a recipe. Touching, smelling, tasting, stirring and all the while creating a wonderful dish from simple ingredients. I think cooking is the ultimate art form. Not only sensual, but satisfying. Do you like to savor your time in the kitchen too?
The rest of Ruth's book talks about her life as a well-known food critic living in NYC. In order to remain anonymous she disguises herself in various ways, modeling herself after her mother, an older woman, a gorgeous redhead, a divorced middle-aged woman and various other disguises. With each new disguise Ruth creates a new identity, seeing the world through that character's eyes. Disguised as her deceased mother she begins to understand and appreciate her, as an older woman she feels the despair and loneliness of going unnoticed, and as a gorgeous redhead she enjoys the attention. Each of Ruth's "characters" teaches her something new, making this book not only about restaurants and food, but also about self-discovery. I found this book very easy to relate to enjoyed it very much.
Switching gears completely, I also read Anthony Bourdain's very candid tale, Kitchen Confidential. Having only seen Bourdain for mere minutes on TV, I had no idea what to expect. Sure....I had heard about him and knew enough to know that he was a "say it like it is" kind of person. Turns out to say that he is a "say it like it is" person is to put it way too mildly. Bourdain holds nothing back. His book is so candid that at times it blew my mind ....yet I kept reading. I was drawn in with his tales of debauchery, drugs, sex, thievery, and secrets. The book is definitely interesting and gives insight to the inner workings of a kitchen. I don't know if I can say that I love Anthony Bourdain after reading this, but I definitely respect him for speaking his mind. I get tired of everything always needing to be "politically correct" and found this book to be a refreshing break from all that.
What about you? Have you read the book? What did you think?
Lastly, I also wanted to share Giada's Chicken with Balsamic Barbecue Sauce, recipe found HERE on Food Network. My pictures didn't turn out well, but I loved this BBQ sauce and couldn't pass up sharing it with you all. One full cup of balsamic vinegar gives this sauce such a pleasant tanginess. The recipe made quite a bit of sauce and we used it with several dinners without tiring of it. I will definitely be making it again.
If you happen to have read either book I would love to know what you thought!