Monday, May 28, 2012

Words of Wisdom

Dearest Jess,

Your wedding day is fast approaching! What exciting times! I can't wait to look back on all this as a 'remember when' memory.

I haven't been trying many new things lately. My creative juices have been building up, but nothing has come of them yet. I have been making many stand-by recipes. Last week I made the Bean Burgers, today I'm making Mexican Lasagna, tomorrow I will be making Granola Clusters for Jason's lunches, and later this week I will be making Burritos. It has been nice to get to know my new kitchen and new kitchen tools this way. No pressure or frustrations... just creating a new familiar kitchen with the already familiar recipes.

My Grandma picked me up a copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. My mom says it's similar to The Joy of Cooking (which I made banana bread out of last week... mmmmm) in simplicity and easy-to-tweak-ability. I have not tried cooking anything out of it as of yet, but (as I do all my cookbooks) I have started to read it. What I found was the best introduction to a cookbook I have ever read. So for this blog post, I am sharing a quote rather than a recipe. I hope it inspires and encourages you, as I have been inspired and encouraged by it.

What Is Good Everyday Cooking?
Taken off page 3 of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, written by Marion Cunningham

"Every meal should be a small celebration. If you acknowledge so joyous a fact of life, the pride you take in your efforts in the kitchen won't be confined to company occasions. You'll find it rewarding every day to see that the table is nicely set so that you won't have to jump up all the time to fetch things and disrupt the conversation. Butter should be in a butter dish with its own knife; milk in a pitcher; bottled sauces and condiments, unless the jar is particularly pretty, should be removed from their commercial containers and placed in small bowls with spoons. If your table looks like a hash-house counter, you encourage people to eat accordingly.

The prime attraction, of course, of any meal will always be what you serve, and no amount of table dressing will make up for food that is tasteless and monotonous. But don't let that inintimidate you if you are new to cooking. Fortunately, experience is the greatest teacher. The more you cook, the more facile you become - and the more you enjoy it.

There is a tendency nowadays to make a separation between an everyday cook and a so-called gourmet cook. And the simpler cooks seem to stand in awe. Unfortunately gourmet has become synonymous with fancy and it conjures up the kind of cook who gussies up dishes with rich sauces and goes in for fussy, overworked dishes. We'd all be better off today if we admitted that there is really no such thing as gourmet cooking - there is simply good cooking. It takes more sophistication to know when to serve something simply in its own good juices and more cooking sense - born out of experience - to get perfect results. You get there by trial and error. Experiment when you have the time and inclination but evaluate your own performance critically. Do only what you have the time for, but do it well. And always shop carefully and respect the materials you work with. In other words, care. That is the path to good cooking and we should forget about 'gourmet.' Above all, don't get discouraged if something doesn't turn out perfectly the first time; too many fledgling cooks give up too easily, failing to realize that there are so many small unpredictable elements that confound even the most experienced cook, such as the variables in flour in different parts of the country, which can affect the outcome of a loaf of bread. So try to be resilient in the face of the unpredictable. Think of cooking as more of an art that a science. You'll have much more fun that way and you'll develop far more confidence than if you just rely of formulas."


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