Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cooking and Stealing

This is where I like to sit and read and nap.

I like to wrap myself up in my cashmere blankie (thanks, sis!) and read through my cookbooks. It's my weekend ritual.

I love me some Nigella Lawson - always easy to follow, always delicious and not at all rigorous. Plus, whenever I cook one of her recipes I talk my way through it in a faux british accent. And I feel free to totally molest my ingredients. Good times!

I also like the Minimalist, from the New York Times. Simple, also easy to follow and not requiring of five billion esoteric ingredients I won't ever use again. (Take THAT Moosewood and Herbfarm cookbooks! Your recipes read like I should have a black hole for a pantry!)

However, I don't get to have the same pithy narrative that you get with Nigella.

Of course I have the classic American tome - The Joy of Cooking - which always comes in handy when I am making things up on my own and need generalized cooking times... or basic recipes (tuna fish casserole, anyone? The Minimalist doesn't go there.)

I've been loyal to these cookbook writers for years - for good reason - but lately I have been trying to expand my repertoire with The Silver Spoon from Italy and Gianna DeLaurentiis Everyday Italian - from the US, I think.

Everyday Italian is one of those vaguely pornographic cookbooks a'la Nigella's books so, naturally, I thought I would love it. I didn't – just the opposite.

I don't even want to crack it open.

First off, it tries too hard to cultivate that Nigella-ness, and fails. Second, the recipes are a little too 'everyday.' Eggplant parm? Chicken Francese? I live in New York, for the love of Pete! I can get that across the street at the pizza parlor and not have to do the dishes! There is also something in the way they are written that just totally puts me off.

It's the weirdest thing.

The Silver Spoon, on the other hand, is amazing! A million recipes! Not a terrific lot of illustrations, but the recipes are so well written, that I haven't needed them. Because of the SS I flamb├ęd a sauce for the first time, and made an almost illegally delicious cheese fondue. Well, illegal for Eugene's cholesterol that is.

Because I love cooking so much, and watching people enjoy my cooking, I have fantasies about going back to school at the Culinary Institute, or opening a restaurant or - never mention this to Euge because the very idea fills him with dread - a bed and breakfast.

The B&B fantasy is probably due to growing up across the street from Roberta, and seeing what an amazing business she made out of it... I think of her, and her warm, sunny, delicious-smelling kitchen and that seems like the essence of home to me.

In any case, such fantasies are a pleasant way to spend a weekend afternoon, basking in the warmth of my own sunny, delicious-smelling home and surrounded by my favorite books.

Or when I'm trolling the internets looking at business's for sale. Hee!

What is your fantasy career/lifestyle?

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