Monday, October 13, 2008

Just don't get the uproar.....

I may have to be kicked out of the Foodie sandbox.

If you look down there over to the right, there is a link to Michael Ruhlman's post "The Fallacy of the Quick-and-Easy Cookbook". And at least early on in the comments, there seems to be an uproar about idea of Famous Chef/Recipes: Desmystified!


I'm a home cook who likes to go above and beyond with entertaining. I have to feed a 38 year old hubby who is as picky as a five year old (tonight, dinner was stir-fry.... sniff, sniff, is there ginger in this? Ew.) and I get home after working 8-9 hours and dealing with traffic and I'm pretty cranky and tired and during the week I just want to get a dinner on the table.

I like famous chefs. Famous chefs get famous by making good food. I like it when famous chefs tell me how I can make good food like they do. I usually get a glimpse into a technique or flavor combo that I wouldn't have though on my own. Works for me.

Is it really wrong that "Simple" sells cookbooks? There is a reason I haven't joined the rest of the foodies in buying the Alinea cookbook. I'm sure it's beautiful, but it's not something I can imagine I could do much cooking with. With all the piles of cookbooks around the house, I better have a damn good reason for bringing a new one into the house.

I like "simple" recipe. Simple doesn't alwasy mean bad, it doesn't always mean it will automatically be crap. In the best case scenario, it means I'll have a recipe that I can throw together without a trip to a zillion stores to find ingredients (well, sans creme fraiche, that's worth extra travels). It means it's broken down so my brain-dead brain won't explode while I try to do it on a weeknight. It means I don't need to go buy specialty equipment to do it. It means I have a better chance of having it work out that having to place an emergency call for a pizza at 6:55 pm when I'm made a disaster of things.

I was also excited today to see Jacques Pepin is doing another "Fast Food" book and PBS series. I loved the first one and the cookbook that went along with it (and if the hubby would eat fish, I'd make more recipe for the both of us out of it). Shrimp and Scallop Pillows.... so easy to do (well, ok, you might make some mistakes making the pasta, but it's still not too hard) and really good even when they don't look perfect. Not complicated. Approachable. I love them. I could make them without dirtying every dish in my kitchen on a weeknight. Happy hausfrau.

Heck, as a tribute to the effort the loverly Carol has done with the French Laundry At Home project, I've been toying with the idea of the salmon and creme fraiche of the "Cornets" recipe served on top of some puff pastry for a party this weekend. Am I evil for not wanting to hunt down the specialty equipment and burn my hands making the actual Cornets, or is it OK that the idea of the salmon and creme fraiche sounds lovely and can be morphed to make it a little easier? Heck, I bought puff pastry at the store on the way home from work tonight, and my brain was so frazzeled that I stood there thinking that I wanted two sheets of puff pastry to do them, and I bought two boxes, forgetting they come two sheets to a package. D'oh. See.... I need simple, people!

I like good food. I like to cook. I like to feed people good food. I like that friends and family ask me cooking questions. I'm never going to write a cookbook, I'm never going to be on television showing off my mad kitchen skillz. I can impress people who don't cook, and entertain other people like me who are home cooks. But I still love food, I love good meals, I love trying new things, and I'll talk about food at any time I an given the chance. If I gotta turn in my official Foodie card, so be it.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

If you want to take a fancy recipe and simplify it, then do it! It's better than not doing it at all. I understand Ruhlman's rant, but I am also a home cook who is just trying to get dinner on the table (without the seasoning packets or tablescapes, please!) for her finicky family. We certainly cannot afford to eat out all the time and Michelin star restaurants are not to be found in our neck of the woods anyway.