Sunday, January 01, 2012

A New Year

With the start of a new year, I hope to get some momentum and write more often. I could promise to try and write every day, but that's probably too lofty a goal. Some days I may just leave you with a crumb of a quote from what I'm reading, a recipe, a food fact, or some other morsel.

After taking part in The Frontier Project's  Frontier Session on Food issues in December, they sent me on my way with a copy of Tamar Adler's  An Everlasting Meal. It's one of my favorite recent reads- she cooked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, and Gabrielle Hamilton at Prune and has a way with language.

"Great meals rarely start at points that all look like beginnings. They usually pick up where something else leaves off. This is how most of the best things are made-- imagine if the world had to begin from scratch each dawn: a tree would never grow, nor would we ever get to see the etchings of gentle rings on a clamshell.  I have spare but sturdy recommendations for beginnings, and lots for picking up loose ends. Stale slices of bread should be ground into breadcrumbs, which make a delicious topping for pasta, and add crunch to a salad. Or they must be toasted and broken apart for croutons or brittle crackers which ask to be smeared with olive paste.  Meals' ingredients must be allowed to topple into one another like dominos. Broccoli stems, their florets perfectly boiled in salty water, must be simmered with olive oil and eaten with shaven Parmesan on toast; their leftover cooking liquid kept as the base for soup, studded with other vegetables, drizzled with good olive oil, with the rind of the Parmesan added for heartiness. This continuity is the heart and soul of cooking. If we decide our meals will be good,  remanded kale stems, quickly pickled or cooked in olive oil and garlic, will be taken advantage of to garnish eggs, or tossed with pasta, Beet and turnip greens, so often discarded, will be washed well and sauteed in olive oil and filled in an omelet, or served on warm garlicky crostini. The omelets or little toasts will have cost no more than eggs and stale bread, and both will have been more gratifying to eater and cook."

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