The case of Chefs Vs Food Bloggers with pretty pictures:
Bloggers have a lot of influence on me. Maybe its the relatability. They are not chefs and they seem to be able to make good looking food with everyday ingredients. But after years of reading food blogs, all i have learnt is about new ‘in’ ingredients, food trends and recipes. I am discontent. Another gripe of mine: bloggers with beautiful food photographs are more popular than the ones who don’t photograph well, inspite of not so good recipes. The ones discussing techniques and food combinations are practically non existent (I found two so far: TheKitchn, MyGoumetConnection’s How-To series. Any recommendations? )
Techniques Vs Recipes:
I dont want recipes. I want techniques that chefs know. If i am reading something to help me with cooking, i want it to discuss things like why a recipe works, how various methods to cook may effect the end result, the balance in the ingredients like the ratio of acid to oil, etc. These are things great chefs seem to know and when they create new recipes, they use the classics as a base and play with the ingredients. Maybe take an acid out, and use a new acid. Add peppers that have a lasting taste, modify the texture, etc. This is what i want to learn. The science behind cooking. Cooking and not recipes. I think spending more time with the classic cookbooks, farmers, mom and chefs will help me find what i am looking for.
Elaborate Vs Easy:
Simple 10 minute recipes. Thats the punch line i see all over. Thought #slowliving is having a moment lately. Instead of going the route of simplifying it, i want to learn to streamline my cooking process. And i think if i make it enough times, its will become easy. This requires some effort in the beginning, which is an over head. But eventually, it is worth it, for what i want to learn. That is how all the women in the family cook effortlessly. After years of toil. Ofcourse, i am not a housewife or a chef. I do draw a line at what’s achievable in the time i want to allocate and what will drive me crazy chasing perfection.
Learn the kitchen dance:
” Max and Eli communicate and navigate the kitchen with synchronicity. One lights the fire under a pot on the stove. A few minutes later the other turns and stirs what is simmering within. Soon after that the other approaches and lowers the heat. ……” – Page 008, Kinfolk Table.
This is what i call the kitchen dance. It requires a true partner. Harsha and me are pretty efficient in working together. We get each other and pick parts after each other. But one day, i want us to perfect the kitchen dance. Its no fun without him. My own quote: “Never cook or travel with people you don’t love.”
Wabi-Sabi: There is no definition for this word. It vaguely describes the beauty of imperfection, of things made using intuition, appreciating the old and rustic for their familiarity,acceptance of transience. Not an exact recipe but by using the soul. While ratios and proportions work, going with the heart and mixing also works after enough basic knowledge. There is a romance in making food. I intend to not chase perfection and kill it.
I want to start from scratch. Learn how to boil an egg. Make the perfect stovetop fluffy rice, … learn things like how grain size and heat effects the end result. Why certain combinations of ingredients work and why they don’t. I am employing my mom, a few books written for Chef schools and lots of experimentation for this purpose. I know lot of these will be learnt as you cook over and over again and observe the variations. Maybe doing both will help me get there faster.
2. Cook more. Observe more.
3. Write some food essays here with my observations.