Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Intimacy in the Kitchen

Think about the people you cook with.

Cooking is an intimate activity; I wouldn't do it with just anyone. You not only need to share similar appetites, but also a common approach to putting it all together. Imagine, for instance, that you, a free-wheeling, inventive chef are making dinner with a foodie chained to his recipe books. (Ok, ok, I know you can tell which side I'm on.) Or perhaps you're a seasonal/local eater and your kitchen companion insists on using hothouse tomatoes in February. Conflict in the kitchen can break up a relationship pretty fast.

I'm lucky to have so many cooking friends. First and foremost is Michael. If you can share a tiny, NYC kitchen w/someone for 20+ years and not kill each other, you're definitely onto something. And he's responsible for the fabulous blowtorch action on our New Year's Eve pumpkin creme brulee (recipe courtesy of Kitchen Gardeners International).

Cooking w/Cayce was a significant part of my recent Japanese expedition. Like me, Cayce likes to experiment, and we pulled off a rich and succulent steamed persimmon pudding on a coin-operated gas burner. We also made basket cheese without a basket. (Yes, I brought rennet with me to Japan. Doesn't everyone?)

Mark and I have cooked together since we were on the road w/Les Miz many moons ago. At the North Carolina Wild Foods Conference we conspired to rescue succulent milkweed spears from drowning in cheese sauce. I love cheese as much as the next person, but there's a time and a place.

Saturday Leda is coming to PA so we can test recipes for her upcoming book. I'm not sure what will be on the menu, but it ought to be a tasty weekend.


At January 3, 2008 at 2:36 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

I know exactly what you mean (I was going to say "you're singing my song" - but that would have lead to a tangent about those folks you really enjoy singing with...)

I love how science and art play together in the kitchen. In the garden, too.

At January 3, 2008 at 2:47 PM , Blogger sarah said...

What about assembling a fabulous Christmas torta with your sister on Christmas Eve? OK, the cream cheese and sundried tomatoes came from the grocery store but the basil was grown in our garden and handmade into pesto. We won't talk about where the butter came from, or at least where it had been . . .

At January 3, 2008 at 6:30 PM , Blogger Ellen said...

Sara, you and Mark are the only two people I sing AND cook with! I should have mentioned our June feast, but since I blogged about that already...

At January 3, 2008 at 6:35 PM , Blogger Ellen said...

Sarah, I'm sorry I didn't mention our Christmas Eve torta! I could try to fudge and say you are family (and therefore in a different category), but that's a technicality. I beg your forgiveness.

At January 5, 2008 at 4:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, your love of cooking and eating are the yarns used to knit friends and family together. How fortunate are the recipients!


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