I like to cook but can never be a foodie. For the very simple reason that I don’t like/refuse to eat: seafood, fish, mushrooms, olives, blue cheese, terrines & pates, game and animals that are cute (exception: pigs. mmm). The list I just named coincidentally comprises ingredients for almost every dish on the menu at a fancy restaurant. Which makes me more of a cook in the vein of Rachael Ray- less the EVOO and annoying personality (debatable I guess), but in sync on the fresh vegetables and comfort food.
The NY Times just published an article that I began to read with breathless anticipation, sure that its contents would confirm that my kitchen is headed in the right direction. I was disappointed. Mostly at the article, and a little bit at myself. For starters, the author abandons his promise to help us “cook quickly”. I see the virtue of fresh spices and when practical or important, I use them too. I know there is a difference between a fresh-squeezed lemon + zest vs. lemon juice in a bottle. And I haven’t used anything other than good olive oil or butter for the bottom of a pan in years (unless I am making popcorn). But making my own breadcrumbs? Seriously? And banning canned beans altogether. I am not sure Bryan’s delicious chili would know the difference. I was actually shocked the author will let me use frozen peas rather than growing and shelling my own.
You can’t say you’re going to help people create a realistic set of basic ingredients in their kitchens while essentially describing the feat as one only accomplished by (a) going to the grocery store daily, (b) spending a lot of money, and worst of all (c) wasting a lot of food. How many dishes can I make with a pound of fresh bay leaves before they expire? Let’s get real, Mark Bittman.
This is why nervous but hopeful cooks get turned off by foodie snobs. It’s like Tim Gunn telling me all I need for my basic wardrobe is a pair of designer jeans, a pristine white oxford shirt and one fabulous wrap dress. He and I both know he means DVF wrap dress, not Target. And so I have no choice but to fail.
So far the beneficiary of all my efforts is not complaining that the dozens of homemade cookies I bake contain vanilla extract rather than vanilla from fresh pods (where do you even buy fresh pods?? Puh-lease). He just eats. And he indulges my habit of taking pictures of food. Everyone deserves a hobby, right.