Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cooking Styles

My wife and I both love to cook, are passionate about food, and are most definitely "live to eat" kinds of folks. Our home routine has changed significantly since she "retired" last fall to stay home with our two boys. She is now the house frau, and cooks dinner more regularly. And that has definitely cut into my kitchen time. Don't get me wrong-- it's nice to come home to dinner-- but it has meant my giving up a lot of control in the kitchen. I still cook on the weekends and occasionally during the week. Dinners are somewhat more interesting now-- Susannah has been collecting recipes for 15 years and has them filed in a way that would make Dewey himself proud. And now that she is cooking more, recipes are being tested- they only get saved if they are "great"- a "good" doesn't cut the mustard around here.

My style couldn't be more different. I am an open the refrigerator and cupboard to see what we have. I have a mental triage system I use as well. I try to keep tabs on what we have on hand. The relative freshness of the ingredients at hand often play a big part in my decision as to what we are going to eat. If I notice that there are some really ripe peaches that need to be use, I will build my menu around that ingredient. And I rarely follow a recipe. I may search using a few ingredients as elements to get some ideas, but I more often wing it. A few weeks ago I made a pasta sauce using roasted tomatoes (they were the core ingredient), kalamata olives, feta cheese, pignoli, and onions. About a week after I had made the dish, I came across this picture of my pasta in an issue of Bon Appetit.


Liz K. said...

I drifted away from recipes and became more of a "what's in the fridge" sort of a cook, too. And after 5 years of Domestic Goddesshood, I developed a repertoire of "family faves" that are guaranteed to get foodie daughter and carbo king son to eat. Now I am going back to my vast recipe file to jolt that family our of the rut.

Ann said...

Very interesting ... giving up control in the kitchen ... difficult, eh?

I have basic building blocks for each week -- rice, pasta, a casserole dish type thing, pizza, leftovers, etc. Sometimes these are really basic (pasta and red sauce) and sometimes they are more elaborate (could be using special in-season ingredients or just more time intensive cooking).

We definately get into a rut ...