I have a serious issue with cookbooks. I read them like novels and have entire fantasies about dinner parties and menus and all that. I’m a foodie.
Seriously, who else do you know that would have a whole chicken in her fridge and plenty of ingredients to make a basic roasted chicken dinner but, instead, upon finding a magnificent recipe which calls for 90% of what she does NOT have on hand will run to the store for aubergines, fennel and red peppers SIMPLY because the “mediterranean” menu would be so much more interesting than a boring chicken/rice/broccoli dinner.
Yep. That’s me. Btw, aubergines are eggplants for anyone who didn’t know. Aubergines sound so much more elegant and edible than “eggplant”. Aubergine, as a word, is a tiny mental vacation to places with people who have accents different from mine and where every street corner is drenched in the smell of garlic. Where sunshine and terracotta roofs mingle under a cloudless sky.
But here comes the giggle of the day. I have cookbooks from all over the world. India, Spain, Israel, Japan, Germany… Mexico.
And all of the authors tout the inherent superiority of their cuisine with the following words, “Only the finest and freshest ingredients go into the preparation of ….(name that culinary,gastronomical fabulosity)”
Point 1… What doesn’t taste better when made with “finest & freshest”?
Point 2… Traditional American (USA) cookbooks NEVER start with that. And rarely are those words found. Unless it’s a hybrid type cookbook (think TexMex, or So. Cal “Mexican” food).
I think a Deep South cookbook would start like… “Ya’ll head out to the store and getcha some shortening and butter. Cuz, ya’ll know that everthang tastes better basted, fried, coated and dripping with butter. And shortening fries so much better than all that there other awls.”
MidWest? “First you’ll need 2 lbs of ground beef and a can of cream of mushroom soup”. Endless varieties on this base method.
Northwest? “Only the freshest bean curd should be used when making your own TVP… But if you must sacrifice by using lesser quality. Take three turns around the ash tree and throw three clumps of compost over your left shoulder while asking Gaia for her forgiveness.”
East Coast? Now that one depends… The big cities are such metropolitan areas that “down home” tends to look like whatever suburb or district you live in. Country folk, however, seem to have some affinity to the deep-down NEED for fried badness.
Anyhow. I was cracking myself up and thought we’d take a break from the maudlin to giggle.