(This is an introduction to an extended series.)
Good food has become a cliché – talked about as entertainment but not part of our day-to-day lives. Cooking on TV has gone nuts. Even I have gotten roped in by those 5 way pastry competitions. I am here to tell you that eating is not competition. Cooking shouldn’t be either.
There is also a trend to treat good food as an ecstatic experience. Yes, it is wonderful to taste a great Pepper Jelly or Pork Tenderloin. When I give tastes of Damson Plum Jam I do expect to hear a quiet “Wow”. But can we please get a grip. It. Is. Only. Food. We do it a disservice by insisting on ecstasy. Better to insist on normalcy.
I look forward to boring. The day when “Wow – boy is that Pepper Jelly GREAT!” becomes “Ho-hum – everything is good, what shall I eat today?”. In other words, normal. Michael Pollan says “Eat food…”. He means that you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. How sad that this needs pointing out. And returning to, as a mode of being.
We spend significant time eating so we’d better prepare right, otherwise something is going to suffer. In this day and age I hear a lot about limited time, limited budget, limited skill. I appreciate that these pressures are real and serious.
You need to decide what is important – health, taste, finances, convenience . I propose that eating well is important and it is time to decide more in favor of eating good food.
We insist on eating good tasting, healthy, good food. All the time. If I don’t have time to cook, I often don’t eat. If you see me at the Saturday Market and I am cranky, that might be the reason 🙂
Cooking is not hard but it requires care and attention. There are quick methods, methods that are not labor intensive (braising for instance) and techniques that can reduce the time commitments but not erase them. Sometimes preparing ahead is not optional – de-fatting a hot braised shin or pork shoulder doesn’t work very well. Sometimes it is very desirable – try making egg salad with hot hard-boiled eggs… Sometimes it is just a good idea.
So where am I going with this? If you hang around long enough, you will pick up tips, tricks, recipes, unusual ingredients (some of which should be usual), novel preparation techniques. More importantly, I hope you strengthen your demanding attitudes towards good food. You know – the ones that brought you to Webster Ridge in the first place 🙂